Mario Castellanos and Sabino Guisu are artists from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
They will be exhibiting their work in rust and smoke at Chalton Gallery in London. In Oaxaca, Castellanos and Guisu often work together, but this is the ﬁrst time they had a joint show in the UK.
Castellanos is a sculptor, ﬁnding scrap metal for his work, as well as using acids to create paintings in rust. Guisu is famous for his ‘ﬁre paintings,’ where he uses heavy wood smoke to create bold designs. They have developed new work for this show, exploring animalistic themes, both wild and mythical.
There is a darkness to the subject matter in each case, that is supported by the choice of medium. Rust and smoke are what remain – they are symbolic of a destructive process- where is smoke without ﬁre? Castellanos and Guisu have used that process to allow a series of mysterious ﬁgures emerge from the blackened and tarnished surfaces.
It is traditional in Oaxaca to learn your trade from your parent, and Castellanos grew up working as a blacksmith. This history is apparent in his sensitivity and conﬁdence with metal. Mario is interested in the tactile qualities of his material; taking a hard cold piece of metal – bringing it to life by “softening it with heat and hands” – then moulding it into organic forms. Nicknamed Herrero Guerrero (warrior blacksmith) for his bold technique, the hand of the artist is ever present in Castellanos’ work, as he twists and binds the metal.
Guisu comes from a long line of craftsmen. Mentored by prestigious artist and philanthropist Francisco Toledo, he is well known in Mexico and gaining acclaim in the US. “When I ﬁrst saw my grandparents heating the clay I was fascinated by the accidents that the ﬁre provoked upon the vessels. I was captivated not only by the destructive power of the ﬁre but also by the traces left behind by the smoke, the result of a controlled accident.” He describes his process as symbolic of how fast life can combust only to leave behind a lingering essence of our selves.
The show will be supported by Derrumbes Mezcal and Speciality Drinks- who will be doing a tasting on the opening night.
Private View: 17 October 6 – 9pm & Closing Event: 22 October 3 – 7pm
Chalton Gallery – 96 Chalton St, London NW1 1HJ Between Euston and Kings cross Station