Lluis Barba, Mujer Sentada Tocando El Virginal, 2020, Diasec, 60 x 60 inches.
What effect has the pandemic had within our culture? Historically, people have always turned to creative expression in times of crisis. We are living through history. Future historians will look back at this time and see what had evolved through writings and the visual arts.
Celebrating 28 years of success, the Aldo Castillo Gallery has passionately achieved its Mission to increase awareness of the significant cultural contributions of international artists and Latin American artists in particular, through exhibitions. For nearly three decades, the Aldo Castillo Gallery has evolved into a unique artist venue, with a creative vision and image based on a humanitarian perspective.
Aldo Castillo Gallery will be celebrating their one-year anniversary after opening their doors to a second location in Naples, Florida on the historic 5th Avenue during the pandemic last November. The Founder, Aldo Castillo believed to his core that his gallery could be a temporary escape filled with expressions of much needed, contemporary art that could transport a visitor to a place of beauty allowing the mind to take a respite away from the fragile world of a pandemic.
The crowds did visit and are returning in record numbers, even during the summer months that in the past years were rarely seen. The gallery has a calm yet vibrant vibe that intrigues some visitors to revisit within the same week.
Among the world-renowned artists featured at the gallery is Conceptual Photographer Lluis Barba. Barcelona based Barba, merges social criticism into contemporary art. He births new life inspired by historical paintings and crosses their boundaries by the addition of pop icons. In his series Travelers in Time, he fuses a relationship between the varied characters in scenes striking the contrast between marginalization and opulence.
Visitors entering the gallery, study his piece, identifying famous faces such as Elvis and Ann Margaret, Johnny Depp and U2’s Bono, glamorously placed in Masters paintings including “A Young Lady Seated At A Virginal” c1670, Johannes Vermeer; Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man; and pictured in top corner, Hieronymus Bosch which all blends together and becomes a collaged spectacle. Barcode tattoos on the icons represent a loss of individual identity with fame and fortune. His works mirror what we perceive art to be or perhaps the irony of what our culture has become.
By Christiana Lilly
A PORTRAIT OF A GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING made entirely of buttons a punk-rock Buddha robed in Swarovski crystals and a bronze grenade flowerpot. When Aldo Castillo is considering an artist for his eponymous galleries in Naples and Estero, Florida, he looks for two things: Innovation and documentation.
Tony Chimento, Three Roses II, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 16 x 12 In.
For more than three decades, the gallerist has appreciated art's role in recording history and activism, elevation the works of Latin American artists. For those he chooses to showcase, he's struck by how they embrace materials and technology and hoy they create a dialogue with those who experience their work.
"The artists who come to me—they are talented, but they are also communicators of societal issues," says Castillo. Originally from Nicaragua, he studied architecture in Guatemala City and was thrown into the art world as the graphic designer and curator at the Museo Popol Vuh—home to some of the world's largest collections of Mayan art. After four years, Castillo wanted to explore his abilities as an artist, and he earned a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. But it wasn't his art that he discovered, it was how he could use it as a vessel for activism. Castillo wasn't able to finish his fine arts studies because if the Iran-Contra scandal and the Nicaraguan Revolution, but he managed to stay in the United States under political asylum. He felt lost, unsure what his role was in the world. Then the HIV/AIDS crisis swept across the country. All around him, friends and artists were dying from the virus, so he volunteered for Stop AIDS Chicago and eventually became a board member at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He also leveraged his connections to politicians to help lift up the voices of the LGBT community. In 2005, he was inducted into The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame for his work in human rights activism in AIDS and political organization.
"I became an activist, a human rights activist," he says, "I lost so many people in our community. A lot of these people were creators; there were a lot of artists and friends, too. AIDS was not discriminating."
Also at this time, he was participating in discussions about race and being labeled Latino. He had never before felt like "other," and Castillo challenged his American friends to think about what it meant to be Latino or Hispanic, as well, as well as to understand the diversity within Central and South America. In 1993, he opened the Aldo Castillo Gallery.
"I was in Chicago in this beautiful, amazing city with an amazing history, but it was also a land where a label was put into me," he remembers. "There was so much confusion about what a Latin American was. So, I thought that the art would do the job to explain to people what that is without me having to say anything."
The gallery became a platform for Latin American artists. Using his knowledge of ancient cultures from his time at Museo Popol Vuh, Castillo also wanted to share that Mayan, Aztec and Incan art weren't "primitive" works to be dismissed. Art and artists, he says, tel stories and document history. "Throughout history, art has been the main force for artists to create, to be creative through their talent, to express ideas, and often they reflect on what's happening at the moment," Castillo says. "So, when I came up with all these ideas, it was because I knew that power."
He became the authority on Latin American art and carved a niche in the Chicago landscape, bringing in artists from around the world. In 2007, he organized Chicago ARTEahora, and then in 2010, another opportunity came to his door, one that would bring him to Florida. Castillo accepted the role of assistant art director for the Miami International Art Fair, so he closed the doors to his gallery and relocated to Naples. In its first year, 2011, more than 70,000 people attended. During his free time in his new town, Castillo explored the area and found that just like Chicago in the '90s, something was missing. "I used to to drive around, getting to know know the place, and I found out ... there was no exposure for really high-end, international contemporary artistic artists, and and I wanted to bring that to Southwest Florida," he says.
He opened the first Aldo Castillo Gallery in Estero in 2011, then the Naples location in 2020. Under his name, he represents the likes of Metis Atash, Agusto Esquivel, Lluis Barba, Scott Ashley, Lorna Marsh and more. "The more exposure you have to something, the more knowledgeable or more your perceptions or taste changes," Castillo says of the artists' storytelling. "Then you develop new ways of appreciation." *
Christina Lilly is a freelance journalist in Pompano Beach, Florida. See more of her work spanning the arts, Community news and social justice at christinalilly.com.
Aldo Castillo Gallery
Art is alive and well at Aldo Castillo Gallery as the gallery has been positively received since opening its doors in September mid the pandemic. Visitors to 5th Avenue South as well as local collectors and art enthusiasts have welcomed and supported the newcomer to Naples.
To celebrate their first season on 5th Avenue South and the 28th anniversary of the first Aldo Castillo Gallery opening in Chicago in May 1993, art lovers and collectors are invited to the first official opening and featured artist celebration on May 13, 2021 from 11 to 9pm at the gallery’s Naples, location.
The show, ART MOVES, MARLENE ROSE GLASS SCULPTURES, will feature the works of Marlene Rose who is an internationally known award-winning sculptor who produces stunningly beautiful works of art in her chosen medium, sand-cast glass. The show will run until August 31, 2021.
Rose’s art is seen in museums and galleries across the US and Europe, and her works are sought after by glass connoisseurs, fine art collectors and Hollywood A-list celebrities. Each piece is hand cast from molten glass into a unique modern work of art that resonates with references and allusions to ancient cultures and civilizations.
This first gallery event will also coincide with the ever-popular Evening on 5th event and to ensure social distancing, the gallery will be celebrating all day long to space out guests. Champagne will be sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and musical entertainment will be provided by 5th Avenue South.
Aldo Castillo Gallery represents established international artists, and serves private collectors, museum collections and design professionals. The new additions to the gallery include hyper-realistic American artist Tony Chimento, Italian sculptor Daniele Fortuna, and North Korean painter and installation artist Keiko Hara.
The internationally well-known art gallery – the Aldo Castillo Gallery debuted on 5th Avenue South, Naples, Florida, in late 2020 with the goal of introducing Neapolitans to the Aldo Castillo Gallery as one of the world's leading contemporary art galleries offering paintings, photography, drawings, sculpture, works on paper, digital art and new media installations.
As an international art dealer, curator, artist, and human rights activist, Aldo Castillo is recognized as a leading promoter of international cutting-edge contemporary art. He has achieved prominence as the organizer of numerous prestigious international art shows and art fairs in China, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the United States.
Acclaimed painter Tony Chimento, one of the most closely watched realist painters, is now represented by the Aldo Castillo Gallery, which has locations in downtown Naples and at the Miromar Design Center in Estero, Southwest Florida.
Chimento has a diverse portfolio and is widely known for his contemporary hyper-realist style. His work includes extremely detailed and complex interior and still life scenes of amazing detail, clarity, composition and color.
Born and raised in New Jersey, he graduated from Rutgers University and then moved to Woodstock, NY where he began his career as an artist. Chimento has built his career and raised to fame as a realist painter after moving to the Miami area 30 years ago.
He was a resident artist of ArtCenterSouthFlorida for many years. From 1994-2000 he served on ArtCenter's Board of Directors and was Vice Chair of the Board from 2000-2005. He is a member of the International Guild of Realism. He has also been a member of: The Wynwood Art Association, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, and The Woodstock Artist Association.
Chimento has shown in numerous one man shows, and been chosen for many regional and national juried shows and competitions including being the recipient of the 2008 Pollack-Krasner Award. Most recently, he was chosen 2nd Place overall winner of 2021 IGOR Spring Salon Show. He has been chosen twice as a winner in the “New American Paintings” competition for the Southern Region. The Winsor & Newton Company chose his work as the winning entry in their 3rd Annual Competition. He has been written about in a large variety of publications including American Artist Magazine and the New York Times. His awards include The New York Graphic Society Award at the National Academy of Design Show in NYC, and the Grand Prize for painting in the prestigious Silver mine Guild Center for the Arts Competition. He has been chosen for awards by jurors like Ted Stebbins, Curator of Paintings, Boston Museum, Vivian Raynor, Art Critic, New York Times, and John I.H. Baur, Director Emeritus, Whitney Museum of Art, NYC.
Art Critic Hilton Kramer, in reviewing a show for the New York Times, containing Tony Chimento’s work commented in a review, “...still there are paintings of some interest here by artists who were new to this writer.... Tony Chimento’s “Sunday Afternoon” is a solid realist work”
In one of the first reviews of his work, Sylvia Day writes in Lifestyle Magazine: “My first introduction to Chimento’s work was at a show at the Woodstock Artist’s Association. There.... was a large painting which made an immediate impression of elegance and uncommon technique... Chimento paints large canvases, their dramatic subject matter and impeccable draughtsmanship a feast for the eye... He owns an original and unmistakably unique style.”
View the art featured from The Aldo Castillo Gallery at the Miromar Design Center in Estero, Florida.
Augusto Esquivel appropriates thousands of tiny buttons to create idiosyncratic, sculptural art forms that range from old master paintings to objects of popular culture.
Esquivel decided to make buttons the objects of his affection and artwork, and take them beyond the mundane into new aesthetic realms and give them a new role and context.
James Mathison’s magnificent sculptures are found in museums (MOLAA), corporate and important private collections, parks and other public spaces. The press, curators and experts have paid close attention to his many shows in Paris and Switzerland. His monographs have recently taken him to Texas and Chicago and Miami. James Mathison’s sculptures have been reviewed in the local and international press. Lately, collectors have acquired his pieces at Art Miami and Art Palm Beach. His male nude sculptures transmit silent feelings of loneliness, melancholy and mutation. The "power of dialogue" is to be found in that silence. He’s known by his exquisite anatomical studies of the male body but in this show he mutates them with engraved lines of text that appears to be "coming from the interior of the being." Once again, the "power of dialogue" is coming out through their silence. Mathison is interested in a dialogue with certain artistic traditions such as those by Michelangelo, Rodin, Degas, Giacometti and Zitman. These traditions go back to external proposals on humanity: to be before man, before matter, transformed into an idea of mankind. James Mathison lives and works in Europe. He took courses at the St. Martin's Institute of Arts in London, England. He is included in museum collections in Venezuela and the United States.
Metis Atash’s exquisite Punk Buddha figures radiate a presence far greater than their size within the architectural spaces where they are admired, coveted, and collected. The German sculptor, who is currently Miami-based, embarked upon a career in art only after completing a degree in political economics in her native Germany and subsequently achieving success in investor relations consultancy. Arguably, the formality of her education and the inventiveness that she brought to business helped inform the creativity and meticulousness with which she conceives and executes her acclaimed Swarovski-encrusted sculptural projects.
Even as Atash acknowledges the wide-eyed reaction of gallery and art fair-goers when they first spot the bejeweled Buddhas resting cross-legged on shelves or pedestals, she asks us to suspend our belief in the beauty of their sparkling materiality, long enough to embrace their totemic essence. This is no mean feat, given that, at first glance, her painted and crystal forms seem seductive objects of contemporary desire. Still, Atash rejects facile interpretation of her art, preferring to explore the philosophical core that transcends the glittering commercial aspect of her work. Fundamental to the artist’s thinking is her embrace of the universal ‘Law of Attraction’, a philosophy that holds we attract what we desire , and her faith in the Law’s necessary ‘duality in life,’ or simply put, knowing what we do not desire brings each of us closer to knowing what we really want. These twin concepts, which inform the foundation of her life and work, are represented by her Buddha figures.
By Denise Gerson
Former Associate Director, Curator, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami
Krzysztof Wasko is highly recognized for his expressive, gestural, calligraphic, illustrative and graphic style paintings that pay tribute to current and historical personalities. He also adds mythological beings to his artwork. He wonderfully takes those real and fantastic characters to graphically tell us how great they became. But he goes beyond... always: he is so gifted that he can gracefully offer us also nature’s landscapes paintings and abstractions, besides his figurative and expressive art.
Currently Showing at the Miromar Design Center,
10800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, FL 33928.
Opening January 19th, 2021. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
For private showings please call (312) 375 8887
Lluís Barba is a multidisciplinary artist who works in media such as painting, photography, sculpture and video art.
Born in Barcelona, he studied at the Llotja School and the Center for Visual Arts Massana School of Barcelona. Lluís Barba has exhibited his work in Europe, the US, Latin America, Canada, and Japan. His work is part of several public collections and museums MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, Centro Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Havana Marugame Hirai Spanish Contemporary Art Museum Japan, MADC Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Costa Rica, MAVAO Visual Arts Museum Alejandro Otero, Jacobo Borges Museum MUJABO MACC and Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas.
A Contemporary Interpretation of The Prado Museum Masterpieces
Renowned digital Photographer Lluis Barba offers us a fresh twist on The Prado Museum’s Spanish and Dutch Art from The Golden Age: The Early Nineteenth Century, with special emphasis on, Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Brueghel. Barba is inspired by the 200-year-old Prado Museum given its position as a primary depository for Spanish art. This collection of Barba’s photographs focuses particularly on the artistic relationship the artists of the Spanish School maintained with foreign artists.
“For me, the works by the great masters at the Prado Museum have been a key issue in my inspiration.”
ALDO CASTILLO GALLERY
MIROMAR DESIGN CENTER
10800 Corkscrew Road
Estero, FL 33928
Monday - Saturday 10 am–5 pm
Or by appointment