Valley of Sun 2019

In The Valley of the Sun, watercolor, gouache, and acrylic works on paper combine landscape and geometric abstraction to reimagine what progress and modernity might look like in another Latin America. Named in honor of Sogamoso, Colombia--"City of the Sun" to the Muisca, one of Colombia's indigenous peoples. The Valley of the Sun uses a speculative visual vocabulary to envision what regions threatened by extractive capitalism might look like under different, more equitable conditions. Rather than a literal depiction of an alternate Sogamoso, In The Valley of the Sun is a visual tone poem where modernist pattern-making, landscape painting, and traditional textile patterns combine to yield new possibilities.














Painting
Mark

carolyn castaño

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Ventanas 
painting, works on paper
2016




Ventanas ( Spanish for windows), is a series of paintings by Colombian-American artist Carolyn Castaño to be installed on the East, West, and North walls of the LAX’s Southwest Terminal 1 baggage claim area.

Using watercolor, gouache, and acrylic on mounted paper, Castaño invites airport visitors to imagine or recall the visual transitions they may have experienced during travel, crafting  paintings that mix landscape imagery, abstract patterns, and motifs culled from vintage airline graphic design. 

Each individual painting is simultaneously broken up and linked to other paintings in the series by geometric shapes that evoke the experience of looking through a window. This looking can take many forms: looking out from inside an airplane as new geographies come into view beyond or below, or peering in at the carefully orchestrated universe of form, color and logotype to be found within the aircraft one is about to board. 

Ventanas also opens a window on two visual traditions at the root of our understanding of travel in the Western hemisphere. The landscapes, rendered in fluid watercolor, recall the journey of Alexander Von Humboldt, the Prussian painter and naturalist whose 1799 Latin American expedition introduced the region’s flora to much of Europe. The series also makes ample use of the hard-edged and colorful imagery found on aircraft tails, where corporate, aerospace, and modernist design intersect. Often functioning as both an emblem of corporate and national identity, the pop icons, bold bands of color, and sweeping free-forms of aircraft tail design are indelible visual markers of trips taken and adventures to be embarked upon. 

Castaño is interested in these spaces of intersection, using Ventanas to craft a visual space where representational, figurative, and geographic elements coexist with varied geometric and curvilinear motifs: of the airport, of Los Angeles’ local architecture, of luggage textiles, and of airline design. This site-specific installation of paintings expands Ms. Castaño's ongoing interest in the everyday visual vernaculars of home and heritage, be it in Los Angeles or the city centers of Latin America, or in the natural landscape (imagined and actual) beyond.



Interested in a print?
I recently partnered with Jen Bekman, a dear friend of Casa Castaño, on a limited-edition print of a piece from my Ventanas series. Take a look