Crossing The Wilds explores the search for meaning and understanding within the landscape. The paintings describe a wilderness full of moods, one that can be dark and desolate while also light and dense. They are places of discovery, exhilaration, and awe, both real and unreal. The Wilds are a mysterious frontier, an area of escape.
In densely wooded forests stories are told under the darkness of night while figures search the landscape, others wait in hunting blinds. They contemplate the bottomless depths of the ocean from its shore. The energies, weather, and sensations of the earth guide them. Apparitions are encountered in transformative states of illumination and convey the possibility of transcendence to a higher state of being; they are epiphanies. The five Ruminations represent the elevation of the spirit figure out of the landscape to an interior space. They illustrate an arrival at a greater understanding.
I am very interested in layering. There are layers of meaning in the imagery and the paintings are composed of material layers. I see the works as different locations on a map that are connected by a narrative, while they are also portraits of an individual’s interior landscape. The paintings are built, woven together with intricately cut photographs, paint, and resin. Through this process they depart from traditional landscape painting and become the product of an intense hermetic studio practice. The pieces are not the depiction of an actual place; the initial photograph is a departure point to an imagined world achieved through manipulation, cutting, and painting.
Bradley T. Castellanos