Curated by William Wray and Carlos Iglesias
Castelli Art Space
5428 W. Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Nov.30 - Dec 10, 2017 (extended dates)
by Sandra Vista
PINK is Primordial
Michael Flechtner "PINK" neon on plywood
The curators' theme of using "pink" as a color or concept opened up a personality of art works. The color pink is delicious, friendly, a valentine, love, romance, lust, and whimsy to name a few. Many of these pieces combine whimsy with topical messages such as birth control, homelessness, entrepreneurial feats, immigration, racism, evolution of pop art, and neo-surrealism.
During my visit to the gallery I was able to get some personal insight from Carlos Iglesias, one of the curators. Poignant moments are William Wray's Pretty and Pink Superman. A weary-gaunt superman is portrayed defeated and collapsed against an undefined corner somewhere in West Hollywood. This man is in league with other street entertainers whose livelihood depends on tourists photographing them in their superhero costumes. Batmans, Chewbaccas, Wonder Women, and Darth Vaders are entrepreneurs by necessity on the streets of West Hollywood and Hollywood near Grumman's Chinese Theatre. The man behind the mask is dealing with economic challenges that affect his physical and mental well-being. Iglesias said that this was an actual person who possibly had shelter but was struggling for daily existence. The white space equates his homelessness and his pain. It seems like his only possession is the superman costume. Lichtenstein's comic book dots introduce the pop quality of the superman image.
Gordon Smedt's Super Pink also uses a familiar pop fashion staple of a superman t-shirt with pink hoodie sweatshirt. The hoodie and t-shirt are a current uniform of the Millennials usurped from Gen-Xers etc. Super Pink exalts America's unique way of abstracting fashion from popular culture and the sports world. Super Pink is a true-blue American portrait that Americans try to imitate and other parts of the world see as freedom.
Pretty In Pink by William Wray
Super Pink by Gordon Smedt
Mouthful by Pablo Ilana
Mouthful by Pablo Ilana combines pop imagery reminiscent of Claus Oldenburg's sculptures from The Store 1961-62. Ilana, an artist from Tijuana, Mexico, created this piece specifically for the show. The sculpture is collaged with candy wrappers from American candies like Kit Kat and Mounds. Iglesias stated that some of the Mexican candy actually is imported from the United States to Mexico under the guise of Mexican products. He said there was an irony with America producing and sharing sweets topped off with wanting to build a wall. Ilana's whimsical, childhood pinata-style sculpture uses the pink theme to make a powerful statement about the conflicting messages and practices that occur on a daily basis on the Mexican border with people trying to survive and also enjoy simple joys like sweets.
Stealth "Pink" slipped in condoms for $5. with donations going to Planned Parenthood. Also, a monolithic "S" shaped sculpture by Pat Riot, Fertility_Futility Totem 1, contained pattern grids created by rows of nailed pink condoms. The advertising of condoms for protection against STD's is possibly being placed at the bottom of the health care pile. Condoms used to be available in large bowls in night clubs in the 1980's and early 1990's. This sculpture reminds us to protect our health, that we have choices with our bodies and sardonically, is it worth the fight.
Fertility_Futility Totem 1 by Pat Riot
The non-literal-PINK-artists created works that were competing magnetically. Viewers seemed to curiously yield to art work that did not scream PINK. Hera of the New World by Glenn Barr portrays various rusting , colliding, vehicles that play a part in an apocalyptic experience. The overall painting reflects pinkish hues, a bi-product of nature's corrosion. The painting by Rafael Serrano, Untitled, and the drawing by Robert Soffian, World of Letters, created ethereal works that say: PINK is primordial. Soffian's work appears like a primeval topography indicating life forms from the beginning of time. Serrano devotes his images to natural flora forms combined with geometrical drawings that exist parallel to nature. Serrano's painting is also a map to finding the answers in nature.
The expansive exhibit also contains three dimensional assemblage robots, such as Mallory by David Lipson, 3-D portrait, Pink Head of William Wray by Bradford J. Salamon, and personal portraiture like Jennifer Pochinski's Jackie, which depicts a PINK girl and her dog.
Hera of the New World by Glenn Barr
World of Letters by Robert Soffian
Untitled by Rafael Serrano
Jackie by Jennifer Pochinski
Pink Head of William Wray by Bradford J. Salamon
Untitled by Noah Becker with Shana Nys Dambort