The average American leads a busy life. From the moment we wake up, we enter into a world of movement. We move from home to work, from work to the grocery store, from the store to the restaurant, the restaurant to home, home to bed – just to wake up the next day and do the whole thing over again. When we sit down, we are on our phones, playing games, creating checklists, texting, and answering emails. This is the “normal” today and we often forget to take a breath and simply… relax, to… unplug from… everything.
I too am a person of movement. One day, I was walking around the gallery, phone in my hand, answering an email for work – I pressed “send” and looked up just as I walked in front of a picture… I was mesmerized. It was blue, simple, and intriguing. It reminded me of Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” – a simple painting of a girl staring into the horizon. “Water Tanks” by Gustavo Castilla came to life in that moment – it captured my attention and invited me to stare into the wandering vastness. Two damaged water tanks in a field with rolling and defined clouds built the scene of this picture. Like the girl depicted in “Christina’s World,” I was seized by the horizon, the far off mountains begged me to stay in the picture with them – to unplug myself from everything and to just… be still.
Out of all the photos in the “Ether Dreams” exhibit, “Water Tanks” is one of five Cyanotype pieces. This process, using ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide, gives a blue tint to the photograph. The blue tint assists in creating depth and detail to “Water Tanks” that wouldn’t be produced by any other development process – it is as if the simplicity of the objects developed into a blue picture demand to be viewed without any distraction.
We are wrapping up Gustavo’s exhibit this week and making way for our next artist in September. I invite you to visit the gallery this Friday from 4-6 pm, meet Gustavo Castilla, and spend some time in front of one of his pictures. Maybe one photograph may draw you in as “Water Tanks” did me.
Arts and Culture Coordinator of SEAD Gallery