carolyn castaño

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Garden Heads
works on paper

In Garden Heads, the heads of men who may (or may not) have been decapitated are found in lush, tropical landscapes rendered in watercolor and pastel drawing. These works remix traditions of portraiture and botanical illustration while also attempting to meaningfully engage the flood of horrible imagery that is as much a product of the drug trade as the drugs themselves.

Mark Dery
My status as an only child compounded such problems. Solipsism is a singleton’s birthright, and I lived with a nonstop monologue inside my head—an ever-present voiceover that converted the world (the Not-Me) into the Me through an act of philosophical data-processing: the instant, reflexive categorization and critiquing of everything around me. It was alienating, this internal voice, turning me into a neurotic loner from a Bergman film who had somehow ended up in laid-back Southern California, harshing everyone’s buzz. In the SoCal of my youth, brooding existentialists in black turtlenecks were sentenced to re-education in Disneyland, The Happiest Place on Earth. To be sure, a Marcuse-ian critical distance was all that stood between me and the intellectual horrors of being mellowed to death, in the real-life Margaritaville of San Diego where I grew up. Nonetheless, there is such a thing as too much critical distance, and the little me inside my skull, the garrulous homunculus that insinuated its hyper-intellectual interpretations between me and everything I experienced, made me want to take a load off my shoulders with an axe, sometimes. If only I could lose my head, I thought, I’d be mindless—a happy camper at last.