Following the Light

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The Richell Castellon art exhibit at Wilson Art Gallery in the Noreen Falcone Library on LeMoyne College campus is a must-see. (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, New York 13214).

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Castellon gives us his impressions of homeland Cuba vs. Syracuse, New York.  The landscapes of Cuba appear as an anachronism – like a sunny Miami circa the 1950s – the cars are vintage, the streets are clean and the people appear content.  The Syracuse paintings are a bit more gritty,  There’s a painting representing the underside of a rusty Route 81 bridge and another depicting a homeless panhandler holding a sign reading, in part, “the best is yet to come”.  I am assuming this is a metaphor for the artist’s life?

Because he does live here now.  According to the literature, the artist is interested in the similarities and differences between Cuba and Syracuse – the paintings are all street views, painted in the same style, yet these places are distinctly different with regard to the way he captures the light.

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Castellon offers both city views in color and in value studies using an impressionistic brushstroke with acrylic paint.  The paintings seem to glow from within.  The Syracuse paintings radiate heat, especially in the way he handles the traffic lights in the night-time street scenes.  They appear to have a sort of uncanny incandescence, which is quite impressive.  How does he get acrylic to do that?

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I met him at the Syracuse Tech Garden a while back – he told me then that he paints from photographs and from memory.  There is a sense that the images have emerged from dreams.  They portray a sequence of moments in time, as if they are somehow actually moving.  I think it is the combination of loose brushstroke and just enough sharp edges that creates this phasing in-and-out of reality magic.

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Yeah, I think Castellon is some sort of artist wizard.  The larger originals are only $850 and the two smaller framed paintings on paper are around $300.  Very collectible!

From Cuba to Syracuse continues through March 30, 2020.  See the library website for hours of operation.  For more information, call (315) 445-4330.

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