San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Carlos Castro’s ‘Remorses And Other Maladies,’ Plus The Symphony And Drive-Thru Purim
Our weekend arts picks include a new exhibition at Bread and Salt, the Symphony’s homage to lives lost to police brutality, and the San Diego Ballet and San Diego REP take on Purim.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Photo by Julia Dixon Evans
This weekend in the arts, there are (literally) hundreds of new works of art you can see — most of them in one place in Carlos Castro's new solo show at Bread and Salt. Plus, the San Diego Symphony returns to the concert hall (without us) to perform works to commemorate lives lost and oppressed under police brutality. And one way to celebrate the performances and storytelling of Purim, COVID drive-thru style with servings of ballet and theater.
Carlos Castro-Arias is based in San Diego, Tijuana and Bogota, and is faculty at the art department at San Diego State University. His solo show, spanning three full rooms at Bread and Salt, opens this weekend. I got a peek of these works as they were being installed and it's a remarkable collection, over a hundred individual pieces and counting. Throughout the run of the exhibition, Castro will be adding new pieces, almost like a mini-residency.
In "Remorses," he's gathered smaller works in groupings that feed each other, using found images that he paints — often onto found boards or canvases. One, a lid from a cardboard lunch takeout container, adorned with a painted seabird. There's art on a lid from a printer, or a toddler's potty seat.
"We don't really see objects anymore," Castro said. "There's many things, objects or images that you see daily, and we don't really see them. And then it's like, going back to these and reflecting on that absurd element." Some of his works involve human bones (which he ordered from the internet) — a segment of spine, mounted next to a sprig of vine in a sleek glass vase, the tendrils ready to curl around the vertebrae.
My favorite section is the religion-centric "Dark Splendor." A noisy video work on loop features mesmerizing footage from a research trip to Texas churches. The portrayals of religion in Castro's art are powerful and complicated.
Stained glass and rosettes adorn the gallery, and two pieces involve real fire. One, "The Witness," features a life-size human form, hunched over a phone, watching a video of a church burning, his own head constantly on fire. While this sculpture would be powerful enough on a screen or virtual tour, feeling the heat of the fire made me feel intensely aware that I was consuming art in person.
Finally, find six of Castro's popular, large-scale "Mythstories" tapestries. These pieces feature intricately woven and detailed modern and fantastical themes, all blended with historic imagery. Ancient civilizations examine an alien. Michael Jackson gets a king-like burial. One involves the myths around the coronavirus.
The works are a conglomeration of these three distinct series, each in a different space in the gallery — though walking from piece to piece, it's clear that each work Castro makes informs the next, like a conversation or a sort of evolution. This is sort of how his creative process shook out too. "I like having parallel pieces or projects, you know? Sometimes when I paint, I feel kind of stuck, and I think okay, but I can do this," Castro said. "I see myself as very fragmented, the way that I live and my personality. So in that sense it is coherent of my way of living or the way I see things."
Details: "Remorses and Other Maladies" opens with a reception on Saturday from 5-8 p.m., with metered entry, mask requirements and social distancing in place. The exhibition will be on view by appointment through April 30. 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego. Free.
More visual art: Quint is opening (another) new space — this time just a block away from their not-even-a-year-old Quint ONE location. Contemporary Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar's powerful 1992 work, "Walking on Water," opens in the new space on Saturday and runs through April 24. The installation features a series of massive lightbox photographs of migrants crossing the Rio Grande. Viewable by appointment Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., 7655 Girard Ave., La Jolla.
The San Diego Symphony returns to Copley Symphony Hall for their February monthly performance, this one billed as an "in-concert meditation on the unjust loss of life and the power of commemoration and hope."
Contemporary composer Carlos Simon's 2015 string quartet composition, "An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave," was dedicated to Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. The impetus for writing the piece came after the Ferguson verdict, and its themes are increasingly relentless. It's a stunning, curious and haunting piece. The young composer won the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, which champions the work of Black and Latinx individuals in music.
Rafael Payare grouped this work with a Mozart serenade for a small wind ensemble, "Serenade No. 12 for Winds in C minor," one of my favorite classical works. It's a moody, simmering piece and even in its brighter moments, it still feels a bit angry. Finally, they'll close out the night with Tchaikovsky's sweeping and emotive "Serenade for Strings in C Major."
Details: Friday at 7 p.m. Online. $20.
More classical music: The Hausmann Quartet's next Haydn Voyages performance, on the theme of 'Alone Together,' is bookended with "Marejada," a brand new, COVID-fueled work by composer Angélica Negrón. First, they'll record the work as-intended, a split-screen, remote video, and they'll close out the show with a live performance from the Berkeley (though we have to stay on the other side of the screen). They'll also play a Haydn piece and a 1951 Grażyna Bacewicz quartet. Available for viewing Sunday at 4 p.m. through March 7. $5-50.
Dance, Theater, History
This weekend is Purim, a joy-filled Jewish festival that commemorates the survival of the Jewish people who were marked for death in the 5th century B.C.E. The holiday revolves around a public reading of the Book of Esther ("megillah"), the sharing of food with friends, and acts of charity. Events often involve recitations and theatrical performances. There's a dress-up component, drawing on the disguise traditions — Purim is often referred to as the "festival of the masks," which has a new meaning in 2021. This year, The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival has paired with The Hive to host a drive-thru Purim program, featuring performances by the San Diego Ballet and short theatrical works put together by San Diego Repertory Theatre. You're guided through the 30 minute driving "experience" with audio recordings you can listen to on a smartphone, and the time slots are filling up fast.
Details: Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 441 Saxony Rd., Encinitas. Pay-what-you-can (suggested $18).
More theater: Patchwork Theatre Co. and the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition to present Almeda Fest, two nights of new plays, streamed virtually. I'm looking forward to the Friday night production of "Adored You," Rachel Lennet's one-act, two-actor play. It packs three years into a single date, where an LGBTQ+ couple meets and navigates their entire relationship. That's Friday at 7 p.m., and "The Final Frame" by Kian Kline-Chilton runs Saturday at 7 p.m.
For more events, visit the KPBS/Arts calendar, or sign up for the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter, delivered every Thursday.
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