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Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, Carnivalissimo

Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, Carnivalissimo [detail] (2010), mixed media drawing [Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge AB, Jan 15-Mar 6]

Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo: mad soldiers

Southern Alberta Art Gallery
Lethbridge AB – Jan 15-Mar 6, 2011

Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, Raising La Mama Grande

Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, Raising La Mama Grande [detail] (2009), mixed media drawing [Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge AB, Jan 15-Mar 6]

Painted drawings and stop-motion animations by Montreal-based artist Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo depict fictional scenes of war, triumph and disaster in the tradition of Hieronymus Bosch, and Francisco Goya and in Picasso's Guernica. With saturated colours, graphic detail and really gory imagery of monsters, skulls and skeletons, the mad soldiers series features disturbing allegories addressing the memory of the history of violence in El Salvador and the 12-year civil war which began in 1979.

Castillo certainly feels passionate about his subject matter. Some pictures are absolutely dense with graphic details crammed into every available space, making them appear like tapestries. Subjects include skinned and toothy carnivorous beasts, Dia de los Muertos-style masks and armoured Spanish conquistadors in a mix of predominantly red and yellow colours with lots of “blood” spatters. If they weren't so psychotic and chaotic, they might be almost cartoonish.

Castillo attended the Ontario College of Art and Design before earning an MFA degree from Concordia University, Montreal (2007). His work has been shown in group exhibitions across Canada, in the States and in Cuba. He is the recipient of numerous production and travel grants from institutions like the Canada Art Council and the Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. His work is represented by Push Gallery, Montreal; Headbones Gallery, Toronto; and Kuma Galerie, Berlin. The mad soldiers exhibition was curated by Ryan Doherty.


Mia Johnson

 Sun, Feb 6, 2011