Rosemarie Castoro: Brushstrokes on view
By Richard Goldstein
Hanging against the granite walls of the 150 E 52nd Street building’s lobby were several grand dashes of gesso. They blended graciously and unassumingly with the grain of the stone, but stood out with the impact and haste of a gesture most striking. However bold and decisive the mark, Rosemarie Castoro always leaves space for the experience, the interpretation, to see. In this particular space, of ambiguity and insinuation lies the seduction of art—just enough for the viewer to connect and reciprocate with meaning and memory.
Upon entering the lobby between two potted palms is a dramatic stroke—a river, jetty, none but An Armpit Hair Coming From the Corner of a Room. The quirky humor of Castoro’s work is ever-present and a welcome twist subverting the works’ own authority and interrupting its own meditative qualities with a laugh. The humor and absurdity keeps the work from 1972 fresh and at pace with contemporary work. In the latest issue of Art Review John Bock, likens making a movie to “when you put a nose hair on a cuticle,” Castoro’s work here recalls this quip, and is sharp as ever. The formal and linguistic cleverness is succinct as well in Party of Nine, a grouping comprised of nine figures of nines. Party or not, the artist always goes deeper than mere wit, in her Statements on Being, she likens “Groups of people [to] the smoldering fires of unconsciousness.” There is always a reference or shadow of the body Castoro leaves behind. Obviously, such traces of the body are reminiscent of Louise Bourgiose, Eva Hesse, and Cathy De Monchaux.
Rosemarie is a native New Yorker living and working here for fifty years. She has extensive exhibitions in the US and Europe and has work in numerous public and private collections. She is a sculptor, painter, writer, and educator.
This installation has coincided with a striking exhibition of Castoro’s works downtown at Hal Bromm Gallery in Tribeca. Complimentary to each other, the lobby installation at 150 East 52 Street brought viewers the unique opportunity to view two of Castoro’s large-scale pieces in situ.