Self-taught artist, Anthonio Julio Lopez Castro, has put together an intriguing, complex and thought-provoking collection of work at the Alley Theatre in Strabane.
His latest exhibition Habitat displays – through the process of layering and an extremely intelligent use of colour – how we individually connect to a particular landscape and how different places throughout the world can affect us emotionally.
The crux of Castro’s work is to explore human nature and, in particular, the relationship with our immediate and daily surroundings. The paintings serve as a reflection of the landscape in which we live and inhabit.
This collection of landscape-based paintings was produced between 2010 and 2011. A number of the paintings were completed during Castro's residency at Belmont Mill Studios, County Offaly, and the remainder were created at his home studio in the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.
While there are clearly many vast differences in the two landscapes, Castro has worked hard to ensure that the body of work and the landscapes relate closely to each other.
One of the main attractions for the viewer is Castro’s play with colour. A common characteristic of Castro’s paintings is that, whilst they may seem spontaneous and straightforward at a first glance, they are, in fact, extremely complex and layered.
‘Forest Pool’ (above) is one fine example of castro's inimitable style. When looking at the different elements of the painting, it is difficult to avoid subconsciously thinking about the Irish landscape, and feeling the emotions that that landscape can arouse.
Within the collection, the artist has used the process of layering with thin washes of paint to evoke our historical and communal memory. The use of colour and light, as well as considered brushstrokes, mark the constant changes, accidental and otherwise, in the land.
The specific processes that Castro uses help him to examine how the physical, environmental and geographical characteristics of a particular place affect us emotionally. These paintings also encourage the viewer to question how these factors contribute to and form our identity.
Anyone who has an interest in the technical process of fine art show certainly make the trek to Strabane to see Castro's work for themselves. This is virtuoso painting by an artist in complete control of his tools and, in turn, your emotions.
Habitat runs at the Alley Theatre, Strabane from December 12 to January 6.