Ryan Lee is pleased to present Sunshine State, Bradley Castellanos’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. This new body of work evokes a tenuous, tropical paradise that is more enigmatic than idyllic, drawing on the artist’s youth in Florida. Castellanos describes these formative years in fragmented visual recollections, such as “the mysterious Technicolor house choked by the surrounding jungle, tall swaying palm trees, sprawling haunted live oaks, vultures, large snakes, panthers, psychedelic mushrooms found in local cow pastures, a neighbor’s bizarre sculpture garden, rainbow people, the hoarders next door, or the friend who fed the local raccoon population.” These memories layer and merge to create highly charged scenes imbued with a sense of dark magic.
Castellanos’s working method mimics these processes of recollection: just as memories are reworked and remade as they are recalled over time, Castellanos paints, collages, photographs, and manipulates his own imagery into hybrid compositions of reality, fantasy, and subjective truth. He employs a multi-step process in which he creates paintings and photographs that he collages, re-photographs, and then digitally manipulates. The resulting image is adhered to a panel and is further reworked through a meticulous combination of paint application and excising with an X-Acto blade. Sunshine State includes series of abstractions and landscapes, each of which draws on moods, sensations, and visual echoes of the region. Castellanos sees the abstractions as both synecdochically related to the landscapes and running counter to them, as elemental structures of place and autonomous environments all their own.
The distorted registers of memory and reality in Sunshine State suggest altered states — states of reverie, fantasy, and ecstasy. Castellanos’s amalgamation of lace-like cutting, thoughtful patterning, and a psychedelic color palette renders familiar scenes unstable, suggesting a murkier, more nuanced view of the Sunshine State.
Bradley Castellanos (b. 1974 Hartford, CT) received his BA from Skidmore College in 1998 and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2006. He has exhibited at Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown; MoMA PS1, New York; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase; and Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, among others.
In 2016, Castellanos was included in Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk at the Queens Museum in New York. Castellanos currently lives and works in Exeter, New Hampshire.