7/11/09 1:04 PM
Brake grease and tires don’t the stuff of classical art make, but Jaime Castillo has used them to create an obelisk for today. Piling the tires up high into an orderly column that reaches from floor to ceiling, seeming almost to go right through, he takes their dark treads as a surface on which to tell not the story of a conquest, as the Romans did on their vertical canvases, but rather of an endless march or race. A simple running figure appears over and over again, painted in the vivid and symbiotic, if gloppy, medium of white brake grease, spiraling up the tire pile, striding tirelessly onward. Also in the classical vein is a series of white ink on acetate sketches, frustratingly but enticingly hard to make out. The bodies that appear and disappear in these pictures cast Michelangelo-esque figures—too broad and strong to be women, too delicately posed to be men. Bereft of even the most cursory of details, the reading is left up to the viewer, bringing the pictures postmodernistically up to date.