How someone discovers a calling is not always obvious. One can sometimes glean it across the farthest reaches of the subconscious, but never in complete innocence. When attempting to pinpoint the factors that push someone into becoming an artist, our gaze tends to focus on his or her roots.
Environment, family context, heritage, a precocious talent, or special encounters—many things can determine the development of a passion. But the process has no logic. It is rather a “need,” as Giacometti once said, that the select few feel within their gut. This especially applies to those from modest households, who can easily be cut off from the artistic sphere.
Such is the case with Brazilian artist Edson Castro, currently a resident of Paris, born in Pantanal, amid the rustling of the tropical flora, its aromas, and its mists, and whose pictorial oeuvre appears like an intimate confession of his own existence. From the soil haunted by spirits of the terra, where the dominant cultivate the imaginary and the ancestral myths, he has never needed the school of nature. He has grown up as its incarnation. In his youth, he experienced the intoxication of escape, in contact with the trees, floods, and life of the forest, memorizing all the murmurs that fulfilled his expectations and desires. Very early on, he would randomly sketch, without any teacher or mentor, before eventually adopting watercolors, and executing nudes and, of course, landscapes. He would ardently interpret what he observed every morning. Then, strengthening his foundations, and up to date with the rules of composition and the dynamics of color range, he stylized bit by bit his vocabulary, leaving the reins of his temperament to a baroque consonance, and entrusting to his inflexible intuition the task of assigning an order to the rhythms teeming at the surface of his conscious. At the age of 25, he started to work with canvas and pastel, alternating themes uninfluenced by trends or movements. The pieces of this phase exude confidence in the soundness of his convictions, the force of his inner feeling and the infinite richness of his source of inspiration: the forest, “that world without limits and the mystery of its space indefinitely prolonged beyond the veil of its trunks and its leaves.And so began and took form a surprising adventure that would drive him toward future professional accomplishments in his country’s largest cities.
But let us return to the specificity of his painting. Castro’s work evokes a feeling of confrontation with nature in its raw form, from which emanates a string of sonic and explosive allegories, all the while inducing the oscillations of its interiority more than the images suggested by memory. This achievement underscores how much painting is above all a projection. Today, in spite of the diversity of his foundations, Edson Castro’s work presents the same combative convergences punctuated with disheveled confrontations under raw light. Overall, it seems that form has been erased to the benefit of an abstraction focused on metamorphoses of forest soil, though this is only an illusion. What is ultimately most striking across these emblematic, spidery backgrounds is the power of the expression, and the intensity led by a technique that creates and defines space with small, repeated touches, until the resolution of the intended structural schema is reached. A strange and familiar impression bathes the vegetal and human thrusts with these effervescent auras, adjoining an ensemble of enigmatic designs made with tar on chipboard. The resulting linear, yet twisted, articulation realizes the surreal. Edson Castro persists in prolonging the waking dream begun in his childhood. In constantly building a world that resists time, his work goes beyond offering promises—it affirms its singularity.
Art critic and French writer