Imagine Picasso's circus performers, Dali's erotic hallucinations, Arp's biomorphs and Braque's cubist inventions all colliding in the same dimension. The result might be similar to the strange world of Spanish artist Jorge Castillo. His paintings and drawings mingle dwarflike women and children with twisted faces, bleak silhouettes of human forms seen in profile, sexual imagery, hieroglyphs of houses, owls, horses, butterflies. By rendering his dreamlike visions with meticulous detachment, he makes his obsession ours as well. Castillo, who now lives in New York, often lapses into facile surrealist imagery, but his best pictures are shockingly right. His most recent paintings, collagelike and cluttered, are his most cerebral. In the medium of sculpture, his large steel-bar rails, outlining massive human figures, show nimble wit. Ratcliff is contributing editor to Art in America. (January 28)
Castillo's rich and introspective art, which combines realism with abstraction, is presented here in a lavish manner. Although the work of this Spanish artist is acclaimed in Europe, it has not been widely circulated in the United States. Ratcliff, who introduced the artist in Castillo: drawings, New York 1980-83 , widens the scope to include paintings and sculptures from the past three decades. His essay, though constructed like a collage in which various aspects of Castillo's art and life emerge and overlap, provides us with insight and understanding of Castillo's artistic and aesthetic approach. Castillo is an independent artist worthy of study and this book is a valuable introduction to his art. Douglas G. Campbell, Humanities Dept., Warner Pacific Coll., Portland, Ore.