27 June to 25 July, 2009

Miguel Castro Leñero

Miguel Castro Leñero is part of an important generation of Mexican artists who revitalized the art scene in Mexico City during the mid-eighties and early nineties. His elegant and elemental compositions, reduced chromatic sense, sensuous surfaces and masterful treatment of paint define him as one of the foremost painters of his generation.  With a selection of recent oil paintings, complemented with works on paper, Diaz Contemporary is pleased to present his first solo exhibition in Canada.

Castro roams the city, scanning its various images, and searching for information in the forms he sees. Inside the urban visual web, he seeks images that have poetic potential, and which present various dualities. He is interested in the juxtaposition of opposing themes such as urban and domestic, public and intimate, noise and silence, chaos and order.

In this recent series of work, Castro explores these themes in relation to the use and care of the car in modern society.  Drawing from city street signs, which are so ubiquitous that they are often overlooked, Castro pauses and meditates on the formal qualities of the car. He avoids the bright, eye-catching hues normally associated with these signs, and instead uses subdued and earthy greens, reds, browns, and greys. Painted-on grids in irregular shapes recall city grids, and in some cases border on representation. Castro balances his elementary forms with a sophisticated technique: in building up multiple layers of oil paint, he creates a waxy, encaustic-like aesthetic, and leaves previous layers peeking through. The result is an exploration of colour and form in relation to a familiar iconic sign.

Miguel Castro Leñero lives and works in Mexico City. He has exhibited extensively over the past two decades, both in Mexico and abroad. Recent solo shows include Without Leaving Home at Galería Arroniz Arte Contemporàneo in Mexico City (2007) and Being in the World at the Oaxaca Institute of Graphic Arts (2006). He has also been included in group shows in Sao Paolo, Brazil; London, England; and Shanghai, China. His work is widely collected in Mexico and can be found in several major international collections such as The Metropolitan Museum in New York, Würth Museum in Germany, and Sammlung Essl in Austria.