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Exhibit delves in darkness of human condition

Goya, Castellon paired for similar artistic concerns

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 23:01


Jenna Rabel

Melissa LeRoy, chair of the MSC Visual Arts Committee, says students can “lose sight of the arts” at a campus like Texas A&M.

The darker side of the human condition has fascinated artists for centuries, leaving their audiences to question what truly lies in the deepest recesses of their minds.

The exhibit, “Fear and Folly,” in Reynolds Gallery in the MSC, presents art from Francisco Goya and Federico Castellon. Eric Clausen, MSC Visual Arts Committee program coordinator, said even though Goya and Castellon are separated by about 150 years, they are exhibited together because of stylistic similarities.

“This exhibit was put together by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for several reasons,” Clausen said. “Firstly, both are well known Spanish artists with similar styles. Secondly, they both display extreme interest in the human body and the dark side of human nature while also expressing the humor in each situation.”

Goya, who lived from 1746-1826, commented on the human condition and unconscious mind by etching “dark and mysterious creations into his pieces,” said Sairah Zia, MSC Visual Arts Committee art resource executive and senior chemistry major.

“Goya was interested in much more than the physical horrors,” Zia said. “He was fascinated by the mental horrors, horrors of the human mind, our nightmares and fears.”

While Goya’s art is “morbid and daunting,” Clausen said the art still has a delicateness that makes the pieces inviting and pleasant to look at.

Zia said Castellon’s etchings, “There Were Sharp Pains” and “Sudden Dizziness” best depict his interest in the usually “invisible” effects of disease.

“Instead of drawing the physical aspects of the disease, Castellon shows us the mental toll of the disease,” Zia said. “He illustrates the isolation and loneliness that comes with disease.”

At the suggestion of his publisher to illustrate a work of fiction, Zia said Castellon chose to illustrate Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” The MSC Visual Arts Committee has placed copies of the story along with an informational pamphlet to accompany the exhibit.

The MSC Visual Arts Committee hoped to reach the students of A&M through Goya and Castellon, said Melissa LeRoy, chair of the MSC Visual Arts Committee and senior petroleum engineering major.

“Being on a campus that is so heavily science and math dense, students can lose sight of the arts,” LeRoy said.

Clausen said even though he is the professional staff member, the committee is a student-run organization, and the gallery is meant to provide not only student enjoyment, but a relief from academics.

“The students plan the exhibits,” Clausen said. “I’m here for advice on the art and to help with handling the art.”

“Fear and Folly,” will be in the Reynolds Gallery in the MSC until March 15. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and is closed on Mondays.


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