Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based artist Victor Castillo exhibits in New York at the Jonathan Levine Gallery

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Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based artist Victor Castillo exhibits in New York at the Jonathan Levine Gallery
Victor Castillo, Modern Love, 60 x 60 inch. Acrylic on Canvas, 2012. Photo: Courtesy Jonathan LeVine Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Jonathan LeVine Gallery announces The Jungle, a series of new works by Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based artist Victor Castillo, in what is his debut solo exhibition in New York.

The title of the show, The Jungle, came to the artist’s mind while working on the exhibition and seeing innumerable images in the media of global protests and violence. The artist feels the future is uncertain in these times; when all the power structures have lost credibility, and we are left with chaotic effects of self-interest. Consequently, this new body of work explores the “law of the jungle” and the age-old story that “man eats man.”

In this exhibition, Castillo’s allegorical visions of the current socio-economic world crisis come in the form of spooky children’s tales. Through acrylic works on canvas and drawings on paper, his cast of masked, hollow-eyed children serve as a vehicle to convey ominous narratives of survival, greed and indoctrination. Inspired by vintage animation, his paintings are like theatrical sketches of tragicomic situations. With cartoon-like figures in the foreground and lush, classical landscapes in the background, Castillo’s dramatic baroque lighting completes the effect of exposing corrupted innocence.

One of Castillo’s paintings, The Big Boss, features a boy burying money in a bucolic setting, symbolic of greed and what lies behind established appearances. Another piece, titled Future Splendor, makes reference to a John Heartfield photomontage of a hyena, showing the brutality of ambition for power when taken to the extreme. Vanity is the theme in She’s Unreal, a painting of a girl trapped by the fascination of her own reflection. Valzerino del Nonno, one of a series of larger works created for the exhibition, deals with conspiracy, bringing the viewer to a secret meeting of masked characters enjoying a mysterious moonlit party in the forest.

Victor Castillo was born in 1973 in Santiago, Chile. Following a disillusive experience with art school, Castillo collaborated with Caja Negra, an independent experimental art collective in Santiago, creating mixed media sculpture and video installations. In 2004, the artist moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he established his painting style with references to vintage comics and cartoons. Influenced by seeing the work of Spanish old world masters, Goya in particular, he soon adopted aspects of classical painting in his work. In 2010, Castillo relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he is currently based. Castillo’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide including the Apocalypse Wow exhibition at the Museo D’Arte Contemporanea in Rome, Italy. He has created large-scale indoor murals for numerous institutions such as the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile; the Museum of Modern Art in Chiloe, Chile and the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Spain.

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