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Laura Castellanos

December 2013 | Gallery4Culture

Borrowed Tribe
December 5-24, 2013
Opening: First Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Laura Castellanos’ Borrowed Tribe is an installation of wall mounted, three-dimensional works. Well known for creating large-scale canvases depicting flat, boldly colored characters, Castellanos makes a surprise move in Borrowed Tribe. Equipped with a vivid imagination and nimble knack for inventing characters, the prolific Castellanos populates the gallery with an abundant (150+) collection of richly varied, mixed-media “sock” dolls – a memorable body of work created as a powerful homage to her grandmother.

Naturally, Castellanos’ sock dolls are painterly, but the pigment penetrates the material like watercolor – staining while retaining the knit texture of the fiber rather than covering it. Her use of color is unexpectedly subdued – the limited palette binds the figures together as a tribe. But beyond that harmony and the basic sock doll form, the uniqueness of each is a rich process of ongoing discovery. Castellanos found countless avenues to make each doll a rich expression of individuality.

Speaking of this work, Laura Castellanos states, “Borrowed Tribe started from a desire to honor my grandmother’s memory by creating a group of rag dolls using her humble sewing kit and button collection. As the work progressed, friends began to donate their worn out socks to the project, making it a real communal enterprise. By using such a random assortment of secondhand materials, I was able to serve both my innate preference towards visual syncopation as well as represent my grandmother’s spirit in “making do” with less. As I nurtured these characters along, I envisioned a tribe, holding hands, personifying a sense of wonder in harmony.”

About the Artist

Laura Castellanos is a Cuban-American artist, raised in New York and Miami. She moved to Seattle in the early 1990s where she established a successful art practice. Among a long list of honors, Castellanos was awarded the prestigious Pollock Krasner Grant, was a 2004 Neddy nominee, and an Artist Trust GAP recipient. Her work is represented in numerous public, private and corporate collections.Her iconic two-dimensional imagery is currently on display as a temporary public art on the city of Seattle’s Civic Square Fence, located downtown between Third and Fourth Avenues and James and Cherry Streets.