© Marigold Santos, Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo

Personal Mythologies

Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo and Marigold Santos

January 14 to February 18,2012

Visual Arts
January 14 to February 19, 2012

Curated by Zoë Chan

« Au-delà de leur puissance narrative, les œuvres d’Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo révèlent ses talents de dessinateur. »
Jérôme Delgado, LE DEVOIR, 2009

‘‘As beautifully deformed as they are moving, Montreal-based, Philippine native Santos’ pieces speak to the intermingling and frequent coalescence of history and mythology. As animalistic creatures and folklore combine, the pieces give way to a greater understanding of the interconnectivity between space and identity.’’
Ally Hall, THE JOURNAL Queen’s University, 2010

Personal Mythologies features a collection of works that portray a richly coloured world steeped in fantasy and complexity. At the very heart of Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo*’s and *Marigold Santos’ art practices lies a marked fascination with drawing as a potent mode of narrative expression—that is to say, how the very concrete yet fluid act of drawing can make the intangible tangible by bringing to the surface intricate processes of thought, feeling, imagination, and memory. In this light, drawing is ideal for constructing worlds, recounting events, telling tales. However, while the artworks of Ramirez Castillo and Santos are deeply rooted in narrative traditions, their narratives are far from traditional. In structure, they are multifaceted, interlocking, and non-linear while their content is often surreal, ambiguous, and open-ended. Alluding to a multitude of diverse elements sourced from visual and vernacular culture, official and oral histories, age-old folktales and cosmologies, these highly seductive artworks compel the focused attention of viewers in order to decipher the subject matter.

Arriving in Canada in the 1980s as a Salvadorian civil war refugee, Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo ’s work is inextricably bound to his personal history. His creations – drawings, prints and animations – are a reflection on the culture of war, his forced migration, and his own cynicism. He broadens his scope by weaving in a slew of references, ranging from religious iconography to pop culture to pre-Columbian mythology. Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo lives and works in Montreal, and has shown his work in exhibitions in Canada and abroad.

Marigold Santos ’ work is at once a poetic exploration of the migrant experience and an expression of hybrid identities in the “New World.” Santos’ imagined spaces draw upon the fairy tales and horror films of the Philippines. Asuang, an imaginary half-witch half-vampire creature, is reinvented to construct new personal mythologies. Her radiant drawings feature female bodies that up close reveal lush landscapes as well as mythological creatures bathed in a strange, shadowy light. Marigold Santos lives and works in Montreal.

Marigold Santos
Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo

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