In a creative path that was difficult to predict because, since his
early beginning in 1980, this artist has been one of the most given
to absorb elements of diverse artistic languages, assimilating them
as alternative and simultaneous registers of one sensibility -his
The latest paintings of Castilla-Bambaren evidence a depuration
in a way of radical revision.
Until 1990, the synthesis of elements that characterized his paintings
seemed ruled principally by the expressionistic spirit, because of
the significative deformation of the beings that populated his works,
and the evidently nervous application of the pictorial material and
even in the chromatic tones clearly chosen for his creation of atmospheres.
Apparently this expressionistic animation, sustained scenes of a narration
with a plot impossible to decipher, that increased the sense of uneasiness
in the observer. Later, the artist will discover that without abandoning
the visual emblems developed in the process, he could simplify them
until their transformation into concrete signs, even in a nature nearer
to a recurrent motif, the serial pattern.
With these new simplicity CastiIIa -Bambaren opened different possibilities
of condensation and expansion of his symbolic language. The effort
of suggesting symbols instead of representing beings-characters in
specific situations as an answer to narrative urge, opened him to
the possibility that every canvas could be an integral symbol of painting,
painting as an act of conceptual creation-in relation with life.
In that way his artistic proposal was reconfigured in the essential
terms of his vision as a painter, in which violence -as a sign of
human behavior - has a preponderant place.
Without leaving the acrylic as a medium of creation Castilla-Bambaren
reaffirms the planimetric character of his pictorial work.
The vigorous impasto in the canvas, is now selectively applicated
in areas alterning them with technical treatments so different: as
the tingeing and dyeing of the canvas with diluted pigments, or the
rubbed brushwork made with a used brush, or the incision. In certain
cases, Castilla-Bambaren applies canvas fragments of different qualities
and, creates textures in the surface generating in this way a great
variety of stimulus, that construct an ambit of tactile sensations
that are, at the same time, a new dimension of significance. It is
possible that mostly all the narrative has been put aside. but the
signs retain a clear fictitious profile that enchains and produces
a total symbolic-visual structure, that would act as a transposition
of the structure of the myth to the space of the pictorial creation,
as an essential weaving of the sensibility of the artist.
The representations of signs like the skull, suggesting the notion
death in life
and other suggestive forms of animal bodies or vegetal structures
get in that way, the nature of a pictorial imperative over all others
. The presence is coherent not by voluntarism, like the one that could
be behind the will to make narrative in painting ,but as a concerted
approach that Castilla-Bambaren proposes in each canvas.
The visual coherence of the whole, is what convinces the observer
that the ambiguous burden of existential roots in the painting has
resonances that can be tracked to the nucleus of representation, contained
in each sign .
The representation is often accompanied by divisions of the visual
camp, that insinuates a possible symmetry -and by that way an order
- that finally is not real. Certain pseudosymmetry resemble structures
of popular religiosity like "the cross of the roads "(*)
and their symbols of the passion. The division of camp allows a risky
handle of color, maybe not too much in the violent contrast but in
exploiting the vibration by the superimposition of layers, that always
reveal the subjacent color around the elements surrounding them, like
Its because of this, that the recent paintings of Castilla-Bambaren,
suggest the conquest of equilibrium in relation with his early work
but the moment of apparent calm continues being unstable and even
The artist handles color in function of its power to alert sensibility,
(a remnant of recontextualized expressionism), the simplification
of forms and the interconnection of them in the painted surface. (Just
even because one does echoes of the others), suggest even with more
strength the nudity of a man enfrenting the materialization of the
myths of the specie...
JORGE VILLACORTA Curator
(*) " la cruz del camino "