Carolyn Castaño’s lush paintings are inspired by humble poncho – Los Angeles Times

L.A. painter Carolyn Castano in her Eastside studio. The artist is presently has a solo current on view at Walter Maciel Gallery in Culver Metropolis.

(Brian van der Brug / L. a. Occasions)

The ruana is a garment of modest pretensions. A Sort of poncho widespread to the northern Andes, it typinamey consists of little Greater than a straightforward woolen rectangle with a reduce-out for The prime. Some are open Inside the entrance and worn like a unfastened scarf; completely differents bear elaborate geometric patterns. When the Colombian Olympic group confirmed As a lot As a Outcome of the Winter Video games in Beijing in February, they made A press launch in trendy hand-woven fashions from an upscale design studio.

However the ruana’s Commonest objective is utilitarian. “It is worn by espresso staff and farm staff,” says Carolyn Castaño, a L. a. painter of Colombian heritage. “It has multiobjective-ness, too. You will Have The power to throw it on The underside. You will Have The power to cowl your self with it. … You can sit on it On the park and make out on it Collectively with your novio or noby way of.”

The garment — its dimensions and its design — impressed the works in Castaño’s latest solo current, “Future Ruana,” on view at Walter Maciel Gallery in Culver Metropolis. This Consists of a pair of ruanas of her personal invention (stitched together with The assist of collaborator Stina Peek) that she silkdisplayed with pictures of her mcompletely different and father. Painted shiny hues of inexperienced, yellow and pink and layered with hand-painted flowers and appliqués of tropical birds, these luxurious gadgets evoke her household’s migrations between South America and L. a.: Cali to Cali, Colombia to California.

Carolyn Castaño’s “Ruana Viajera,” 2022, made in collaboration with Stina Peek, employs the typeat of A properly-appreciated Andean garment.

(Amy Tierney)

However it’s her work, displayed over two huge gallery spaces, That the majority captivate.

These use The important Sort of the ruana as Some extent of dehalfure. Throughout the perimeter Of every canvas, Castaño places wild geometric patterns redolent of Indigenous designs and Andean vernacular graphics. (Think about the punchy neon pop of cumbia posters.) At The center Of these, wright here the put oner’s head might go, she inserts lush panoramas that evoke the tropics. These are rendered in paint However in addition dense collages of sequins, lace and appliqués. The ruana’s adverse space turns into A spot for completely differentworldly panorama.

Can a garment open a door to completely different worlds? Castaño’s ruanas exactly feel as In the event that they might.

Carolyn Castaño, “Diosa Amanacer,” 2022 includes reduce paper, appliqués, gold foils and supplies.

(Amy Tierney)

The work Compile, in current strategies, the pretty A pair of threads Castaño has been investigating all by way of her profession.

She first drew nationwide consideration for the glittery portraits launched in “Phantom Sightings: Artwork After the Chicano Movement” at The l. a. County Museum of Artwork in 2008. Since then, her work has taken on the aesthetics of narco-tradition and the hidden politics of panorama painting.

In The autumn of 2020, Castaño was The primeic of the solo exhibition “Cali es Cali” On the Orange County Museum of Artwork’s short-term space, but the current fell sufferer to a surge of COVID-19 and shut dpersonal after A pair of weeks. A mannequin of that exhibition was restaged at Pasadena Metropolis School earlier this yr, although Solely for a month. The current at Walter Maciel is subsequently a welcome alternative to delve into the artist’s work.

On a pscorchingo voltaicny weekday morning, I met Castaño at her Eastside studio, an intimate spot cluttered with pure historic previous books and scraps of textiles. On this dialog, which has been condensed and edited for readability, she talks Regarding the impacts she attracts from German pureists, the garment district store wright here she acquires her biggest appliqués and the ruana that started All of it.

The ruana is a type you’ve alluded to Prior to now. Why did you make that A spotlight for this exhibition?
For the current at OCMA, I used to be using pictures and objects from my dad’s archive (which is such a hoity-toity phrase). However he had A set of like 4,000 pictures — analog — of L.A. and Colombia. Tright here was An picture of my Aunt Fabiola descending from Mexicana Airways holding my grandmcompletely different’s ruana And she or he ended up giving it to me. It’s been in my closet. It’s method too scorching and heavy to put on in L.A. However I noticed The picture And that i used to be like, that’s the ruana!

I needed To place the exact ruana Inside the current subsequent to The footage. When the current went to Pasadena Metropolis School, I started to pair the panorama drawings with the ruana type and The picture of my aunt And that i started connecting them.

An set up view of Carolyn Castaño’s solo current, “Cali es Cali,” On the Orange County Museum of Artwork in 2020.


I used to be Considering about patterns from textiles, particularly The colours of the Wayuu [an Indigenous ethnicity from the Colombian area Of los angeles Guajira]. They use these psychedelic and fluorescent colours. I used to be additionally Inside The Sort of the reduce-out of the neck. I used to Have an curiosity Inside the triangle types of the neck being an interruption Inside The eu horizontal panorama. So, an interruption, A area of curiosity, a vortex, a portal — a speulative system to think about ancompletely different Technique of deciphering the panorama.

In what strategies are you impressed by panorama painting?

I started off being exactly Inside the drawings and research of [German pureist] Alexander von Humboldt and [Hudson River School painter] Frederic Edwin Church, who would Sort of paint exact settings from his creativeness. [Church] would make these composites, which is what I’m doing. I used to be additionally Considering about Albert Berg, [a German painter] who made drawings of the Magdalena River [in Colombia]. He made these lithographs or etchings of the river, and it’s all very bucolic. It’s paradise. Tright here’s not a colonialism, no demise or destruction. I made a collection of drawings impressed by Berg’s drawings, but I’d put a physique half in it — like a leg or a hand or a head.

Carolyn Castaño makes use of The Sort of the ruana as a physique for bursts of panorama. Seen right here: “Mantel,” 2022.

(Amy Tierney)

I additionally love Matisse. He is An monumental affect. His use of colour. His simplicity of types and the playfulness. And I exactly like Charles Burchfield’s swamps, That are Full of power.

Your art has prolonged included suppliess like glitter and rhinestones. Now you’re weaving in dense layers of sequins and appliqués. What attracts you To these suppliess?

Hanging out with my dad, he had a display printing enterprise and he’d make posters and doodads for the Guatemalan pageant or the Salvadoran pageant. He would take me to retailers dpersonaltpersonal that service the display printers. It was unimaginable. Do You’d like to need to a T-shirt with gold, You will get this gold foil And also you apply it with a warmth press. I Apply it to my canvases now. … The gold pscorchingo voltaic type — it’s gold foil, not gold leaf.

I might additionally get suppliess from the thrift retailers. I’d Search for tropical prints. How do they think about a tropical panorama? I’d go to the thrift retailers And look at out and Search out as many tropical prints as potential. I exactly like All of them.

Carolyn Castaño’s “Blue and Gold Migrant,” 2022 (element), on view at Walter Maciel, reveals The biggest strategies she embeds appliqués and completely different craft parts in her work.

(Carolina A. Miranda / L. a. Occasions)

What’s your go-To buy these suppliess?

The appliqués come from A retailer referred to as My T on Maple Avenue dpersonaltpersonal. It’s a Korean household who personal it: the husband and spouse and their poodles. Tright here are A lot Of retailers on the block, but They’ve Definitely one of the biggest. I confirmed them what I used to be doing with appliqués They typinamey have been like, “It’s a masterpiece!” [Laughs.] They current me what’s new. They acquired these huge orchids that I Utilized In a single piece of the current. I’ve additionally started To discover strategies to make My very personal Kinds of appliqués with this sequined supplies I discowled.

Carolyn Castaño’s suppliess Are typinamey impressed by the objects she encounters at craft markets in dpersonaltpersonal L.A.

(Brian van der Brug / L. a. Occasions)

In the previous, you’ve talked A few “chromophobia” in Western art — a fear of colour. How do you see that manifesting?

As a grad scholar, As quickly as I needed To make the most of shiny colours, it was Thought-about “not critical” or kitsch. This was Inside the early 2000s and late Nineteen Nineties, this second By Which people have been reacting to multiculturalism. It’s this second By which as an artist, you can have an id, but not with a capital “I.” So, you can have your private content material, but don’t have it look too Latino. “Serious” art is grey or black and white.

It’s completely different Elsewright here. [In Colombia,] you see The biggest method the Wayuu use these fluorescent textiles. You stroll round Mexico Metropolis And also you’ll see a magenta painted constructing or these shiny [Luis] Barragán colours. I needed to create an environment that displays that Technique of the world.

I started to convey these parts into my work — you see it Inside the work in “Phantom Sightings.” I used to be using glitter. I started using fluorescent colours. I maintain in thoughts talking to [curator] Rita Gonzalez round the time of “Phantom Sightings” and describing it as “Mango Modernism.” I’m, like, give me one factor with colour and a mango print and it makes me joyful. However it was additionally a political transfer in the direction of the hegemony of black and white.

Carolyn Castaño’s Eastside studio holds bins of textile fragments, books on nature and research for future works.

(Brian van der Brug / L. a. Occasions)

In the OCMA exhibition, you drew closely Out of your father’s pscorchingographs. What resonances do You uncover between these gadgets And also your work?

My father would take all Of these pscorchingographs at halfies and events. After [he] handed amethod, I started To rearrange the pscorchingographs. It’s unimaginable how lovely everyphysique was. I might discover the structure and the tilework in my grandmcompletely different’s house. Tright here Can be these indoor-outdoors spaces. I noticed a relationship between the pscorchingographs he took in Colombia, out on the highmethod and The road, And completely different people right here, wright here he’d shoot the 110 freemethod and the Dehalfment of Water and Power constructing.

In wanting On them, I’d see parallels. Sometimes tright here Can be This sense of being disoriented. WAs a Outcome of the pscorchingograph taken in Colombia or Is that this in L.A.? That is the sensation of rising up right here. I’m American And that i grew up right here, but I’m Colombian and As quickly as I am going tright here they name me gringa. The ruana gadgets are Barely bit about that. About how immigrants exactly feel — being in two places Immediately.

Carolyn Castaño put ons the ruana That when beprolongeded to her grandmcompletely different.

(Brian van der Brug / L. a. Occasions)

Carolyn Castaño: Future Ruana

Wright here: Walter Maciel Gallery, 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., L. a.
When: Through Oct. 29