New York

Rosemarie Castoro

Syracuse University, Lubin House

Rosemarie Castoro’s work takes on an autonomy drawn both materially and thematically from her earlier development. In 1970–71 Castoro worked on environmentally scaled panels covered with charcoal hatchings. In 1971–72 she exhibited large flat graphite “broom-strokes.” More recently she has been concerned with what she calls “exoskeletal auras”—usually figures or their outlines (radiating auras) in crowd situations, for example groups at an exhibition opening or units marching in a parade. In her current show she again deals with people; however, the forms are no longer figural representations of people but rather they are about people. More precisely these “suspensions,” as she prefers to call them, deal with the life cycles of people—as she indicates in the titles: Growing, Tunnel (the passage of life?), and Burial.

In an accompanying log, Castoro suggests various sexual connotations in her work. She writes, “I extended my animus (to penetrate) into reality and released suspended crotches/double penises/legs, into three interdependent groups; all having qualities of each other in their anima (crotches), animus (penises) and the differentiated sex” (1973). References to human genitalia are certainly apparent in the forms themselves, but perhaps in order to deal with her work we must realize that primarily it is about art, and the process involved in its making.

She understands her plastic materials in the sense that the traditional marble sculptor knew his stone. What is really on exhibition is the product of her bending, pushing, breaking, plastering, varnishing, and other process-oriented manipulation of materials. Her current sculpture visually derives from the serial forms of Eva Hesse and certain anthropological investigations of Nancy Graves, although conceptually Castoro differs from them by her choice of a possibly more introspective approach to material.

Francis Naumann