In search of interesting art at the art gallery this week, I entered the Max L. Gatov East Gallery and observed the art of Romina Del Castillo and of Emily Babbette. These artists shared the same gallery but is very fitting that they did so because their art, in my opinion, is very similar, and they fit the name of their art exhibition, “La Vie En Noir,” or “Life in Black.” Their art is what the name of the exhibition suggests, living everyday and doing what one regularly does, but in black. It is Emily’s art that contains no color with the exception of the one to the right, where red is brightly expressed. This painting captured my interest because of the colors; I love how red and black look together. Nevertheless, Emily is the model of her own painting and the art came off as strong to me. I believed that it had a deep meaning and when I asked Emily what this art piece meant and why everything was dark with the exception of red, she stated that she got the idea from something called “Tera Cards”, which, if I am correct, are fortune-telling cards in which one’s future can be read and that she used red because she loves that color, saying that it represents passion. I could be wrong, but since these are fortune-telling card and Emily painted herself as a high priest, she perhaps sees herself in a position of power in the future. Another art piece done by Emily is shown to the left and unlike the previous one, this one lacks color. According to Emily, the models are her friends and they had to sit for about three hours with breaks in between. Emily did not add color to any of her artwork because she wants to explore black and white and she feels that adding color to them would eliminate the dark/goth tone. Emily prefers painting realistically but has painted abstract art; Emily has always had a love for the arts, such as theater and acting, but it was while traveling abroad in Europe where she discovered her love for painting and art.
Like Emily, Romina’s art too contains a dark/goth tone yet unlike Emily’s, it has variations of color. What I find intriguing is that Emily’s art is all black and when it contains color, it is only one thing that does and in Romina’s art, everything has color with the exception of the people in it. I was sure that the fact that everything was colored except for the people had a significant meaning, yet when I approached Romina with my curiosity she said that it does not really have a meaning, that she is simply exploring and experimenting with color in her art; I could not help but laugh at myself. Like Emily, Romina too used her friends and people she knew as the models in her art, having multiple two hour sessions with breaks in between. Because it would take too long to paint the entire painting, Romina would paint the model during the sessions and finish the background later, sometimes making it up. Romina has done drawings purely in black like Emily, but she now wants to experiment with color while maintaining the dark tone. To me, the addition of color only emphasizes the goth tone of the piece, making the lone dark figure seem mysterious and having the ability to capture one’s attention. In the artist statement, the artists mention The Rolling Stones, and when asked about this, Romina explained that they love music, particularly rock n’roll. I found it funny that when I asked the artist “why is everything painted in black?” she responded with “black is the color of my soul” with a smile upon her face. Romina was born in Peru and has studied abroad in France; she has always loved to paint people, ever since she was a child. In the future, Romina plans to have a career as an artist in her homeland of Peru as well as here, in the United States.
Without a doubt Emily and Romina’s art are similar in style that one would think that the art that hung upon the walls of Gatov East Gallery was done by a single artist. Romina used to draw only in black like Emily does now and she has painted longer than Emily, which is a reason why when I mentioned the similarity between the art to Emily, she admitted that Romina serves as an inspiration to her. The artists are friends and they have painted one another in their unique style; the image above (featured image) is a drawing of Emily with a Ouija Board created by Romina, having a pinch of color. What I found interesting in this week’s visit to the art gallery was that not all art has a profound meaning; some things are what they are visually, as was the case with Emily’s and Romina’s art. The strong colors, tone, and scenes in the art would make one think that they indeed contained a hidden meaning. It was a pleasure having the opportunity to observe the art created by Romina and Emily and having the opportunity to speak with them and learn a bit about their backgrounds and style. May their art continue to capture the eyes and appreciation of many others in the future.