Fear & Folly
The Visionary Works of Francisco Goya & Federico Castellon
"A Way to Fly" by Francisco Goya, ca. 1816-1823
on view January 14-March 15, 2014
Exhibition organized through Kalamazoo Institute of Arts with the generous support of Mary and James B. Crawley
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 16, 6:30-8:30pm
James R. Reynolds Student Art Gallery
Tue-Fri 9am-8pm and Sat-Sun noon-6pm
Separated by about 150 years, Francisco Goya (1746-1828) and Federico Castellon (1914-1971), often appear closer to one another than to their contemporaries. Displaying little concern for the prevailing artistic trends, both artists turned their attention to the human condition. They plunge viewers into an uninhibited realm of the unconscious, a hidden world usually encountered only in dreams or nightmares with imagery that is both beautiful and disturbing.
The creative imagination of both artists can be found in a uniquely Spanish source: the duende. In Spanish folklore, the duende is a kind of goblin-like creature, a trickster and troublemaker. The great Spanish poet Garcia Lorca saw the duende as something more—the creative forces of the earth, the primordial, irrational powers that intensified life. Lorca claimed it defined the very character of the Spanish imagination. Rather than call upon the muse for inspiration, Spanish artists often wrestled with the demonic power of the duende. As the poet explained, “the duende delights in struggling freely with the creator on the edge of the pit.”
The prints in Goya's last major series, the Disparates, are some of his darkest, most enigmatic creations. Nearly thirty years earlier he was painting lighthearted scenes of leisure activities to be made into tapestries for the royal palaces. In the Disparates, some of Goya's earlier subjects reemerge as disturbing and even diabolic images. (See Feminine Folly and Merry Folly.)
Castellon was also drawn to the duende, creating work that focused on the individual’s encounter with the dark and mysterious forces of life. When a publisher proposed he illustrate a work of fiction, Castellon immediately chose Edgar Allen Poe’s story, The Masque of the Red Death. Castellon was moved by the sense of loneliness and isolation that permeated Poe's work, the “uniqueness of an individual, this kind of floating and trying to find a niche that really isn't there.”
Many artists have been drawn to things dark and fantastic, but few have probed the human condition with the insight and truthfulness found in these images. But something else is present as well. Federico Castellon believed the emotional shock we experience when looking at Goya’s etchings is caused not by their strangeness and irrationality, but by their beauty. He could be describing his own work as well.
Be Part of Something Creative!
Join MSC VAC!
Join the MSC Visual Arts Committee (VAC) and you can be part of the art scene on campus.
Get hands-on arts management experience
Install exhibitions and host artists in residence.
Take art trips.
And meet people who share your passion for art.
Visit us at MSC Open House on Sun Sep 1st. We'll be on the 2nd floor right next to our gallery!
We will also hold an informational meeting the week of Sep 2nd, so check back here as the fall semester nears.
Applications will be available at http://www.msc.tamu.edu/spo/apply/ and will be due Fri Sep 6th.