Merry Karnowsky Gallery recently unveiled side-by-side exhibitions by Chilean artists Victor Castillo, Mauricio Garrido and Claudia Peña. While the artists share a commonality in their heritage and use classical representation of the figure to tell a story, each person offers a fresh perspective on surrealism. Upon walking into the gallery, we first see “Sleeplessness” by Mauricio Garrido and Claudia Peña: colorful works whose meaning must be re-constructed like parts of a dream. Garrido uses elements of collage, textiles and video art. His figures are connected by images like muscle tissue and florals, mirrored by red dripping meat and Spanish roses that appear throughout Peña’s paintings. Her work is gradually fragmented by smaller still lifes that emphasize various elements in her landscapes.
The vibrant “Sleeplessness” is starkly contrasted by “Pure Pleasure” by Victor Castillo, who places his signature masked figures in a black-and-white world. Twelve monochromatic ink paintings are complimented by a new mural in the gallery. Castillo describes it as “like championing a return to analog in an image-saturated digital world.” Known for his vivid color palette, this departure turns his usual dark social commentary into dark, more whimsical illustrations. While the main gallery exhibits darker tones in bright colors, Castillo’s black and white caricatures have a playfulness like the cartoons that fascinated him as a child. Victor Castillo, Mauricio Garrido and Claudia Peña exhibit at Merry Karnowsky Gallery through March 1, 2014.