I haven’t posted in a while. Seems that I haven’t exactly done some things in a while... that was certainly how things felt a few weeks into the pandemic. Getting started on bigger work seemed like a tiny idea beyond a swirling field of thoughts with no resolution. When I finally was able to get to work it came like an onslaught. It felt as though behind my anxious and spinning conscious, my other mind had it planned. I had a small postcard I’d not been able to complete for Small Art postcard exchange. It sat on the table for weeks and then the razor came out and yes! Here are three large works that came from that coalescence. They each are different and they follow a path of my thinking, feeling and reacting through the works. There is a blurb associated with each. I have submitted them to a couple of art opportunities. Having to sort through and write about them proved really elucidating.
No Outward Signs. 2020. 45”x48”x10”. Acrylic on a single sheet of paper.
In “No Outward Sign,” there is at once a need to control and an inability to do so. The back and front of the painting is in play. Every time a new window is cut and the reverse side comes to the front, there is a new visual problem or challenge. The action of making this piece became a parallel action to my anxieties; sorting through the information and misinformation at the beginning of the pandemic and trying to arrive at a balance of knowledge, action and expression.
Turning Joy. 2020. 48”x54”x10”. Acrylic on a single sheet of paper.
As the second large piece I made in quarantine, “Turning Joy” became a record of coming to terms with enormity of the situation. The action of the painting still is a matter of digging, organizing and understanding things visible and invisible, accurate and inaccurate, anticipated and not. As with the others, the microscopic and macroscopic scale of the imagery plays to the event. During this painting I found myself surprisingly lost in the action of turning over the paper and feeling a certain growing power of clarity.
Covid Conspirator. 2020. 50”x38”x10”. Acrylic and ink on a single sheet of Stonehenge paper.
As the third large piece made during the quarantine, “ Covid Conspirator” became a surrender of sorts to the conditions of the pandemic. The paper was originally a different painting that I repurposed, which felt appropriate to the insular practice of making these particular works at this time. After making “Turning Joy”, I felt a guilt for having my immersion in the work bringing me to a joyful moment. This time, I accepted the pandemic as a partner. The same visual distress of control and un-control plays here, albeit more somberly and densely.
Tomorrow night I will be giving a talk at the Metuchen ARTS Council’s Artist gathering. I’m will share about my experiences showing at the 14C Art Fair.
The weekend went by fast. It was busy. It was intense. So what was it like....
I’m still thinking about that. It ended. We packed up and drove home. And how did I feel? Actually: quite amazing. So my experience was rife with expectations as probably was most people’s. There were people I wanted to meet. Art I wanted to see. Conversations I wanted to have. Sales I wanted to make. And of course, my work I wanted to have seen. I wanted to feel as an artist amongst my peers.
I set out to meet the participants and see the work. Everyone was nervous and clearly everyone had their own set of expectations and fears. I wanted to connect with the artists and the gallerists. I knew it would be three days of small talk and sales talk. I wanted to see if we could just get a piece of something more meaningful to ground us in our community. Turns out it was better than I hoped. I met amazing people and we had amazing conversations. We talked about our concerns and then talked about the work. Really talked about the work. I was having studio visits and everyone needed to dig into their work as a break from the parade of lookers. It was fantastic. I’m hoping that some of these connections will build. I think they will...
So what else? Sales. This was rough. Most of us sold a little. Sales were not the big hit this time. Showing with a new group of people. Yeah this was fabulous! Seeing the different work sing together and the room just flow. Amazing.. There were some people who kicked tires a bit harder and maybe they will circle back for a buy. There were some gallery people who said they were very interested. We will see...
As it stands, a day later, I feel for once, planted in my arts community in New Jersey. This is right now the greatest value of the fair. It feels momentous.
https://reg125.imperisoft.com/ContemporaryArt/Search/Registration.aspx This is going to be a great time. Check the CCA website or contact me for more info!
All the weeks of building and planning really paid off! Install was a breeze. I think I got just what I was after with the piece. I knew it would be different indoors, especially in such a charged and intimate space. Now to sit with the uncomfortableness of having the piece reveal itself. This morning when I looked at this pic and saw the space and dissolving, disintegrating figure next to me, I understand how the shower figure got consumed literally as I thought about the fires raging around the planet. I still love the figure “ burning” in front of the shower head. Thank you to all who helped put this together.
Joseph Castronova, Artist. B.F.A., M.F.A., School of Visual Arts, School of Museum of Fine Arts, Art Students League.
Collections include: JP Morgan Chase, Staten Island Institute for Arts and Sciences, SVA. Weissglass Purchase Prize recipient.
Solo Exhibitions: M Galleries, Washington, NJ; Catherine Street Gallery, Staten Island, NY.
Group exhibitions include: Visual Arts Gallery, NY, NY; Revolution Gallery, NY, NY; Art Network, SI, NY; Catherine Street Gallery, SI, NY; Central Gallery, London; Skulski Art Gallery, Clark, NJ; Watchung Arts Center, NJ.; M Galleries, Washington, NJ; Yendor Productions, Plainfield, NJ; Barron Art Center, Woodbridge, NJ.; Artist Framer, Cranford, NJ; Earth Studios, Metuchen, NJ.; Windows of Understanding, Highland Park, NJ.; Westerhoff Gallery, Metuchen NJ.; Above Art Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ.
Commissions include: TelTech, S. Amboy, NJ., RoboKiller, Metuchen Downtown Alliance