BELEN — An upcoming workshop by local artist Paula Castillo will delve into the surrealist movement, specifically the contributions of female to the avant-garde movement.

The workshop is the first in a series of events sponsored by Through the Flower as a run-up to the grand opening of the Through the Flower Art Space in July.

Amanda Romero, director of the Through the Flower Art Space, said Castillo will lead a discussion that explores the ways in which families and societies construct fear, using the works of female surrealist artists such as Meret Oppenheim, a German-born Swiss surrealist artist, and photographer, Spanish surrealist Rumedios Varo and Helen Lundenberg, a Southern California painter credited with establishing the post-surrealist movement.

This fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon was created in 1936 by Meret Oppenheim, a German-born Swiss surrealist artist and photographer. Oppenheim is one of several female surrealist artists Paula Castillo, a contemporary sculpture from Belen, will be discussing at her upcoming workshop.
Submitted photo

A native New Mexican, Castillo attended Yale University for two years after high school and then dropped out to work in an electronics factory, where she began to forge her early career in contemporary art.

Castillo’s interest is in translating how the intermingling of tradition, colonialism, modernity, American socioeconomics and the increasingly postmodern circumstances of technology saturate and transform the landscape.

An acclaimed contemporary artist, she has produced a range of work from avant garde anonymous interventions to large-scale public work and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally.

Romero said much of Castillo’s own work is in the surrealist style, and she felt the desire to highlight women who created in that style.

“At the height of surrealism, female artists were often unrecognized for their work,” Romero said. “Most people know about Dali but the work of a lot of the women surrealists isn’t found in the history.”

One of Castillo’s most recent project is the completion of three, large outdoor pieces at the National Hispanic Cultural Center to commemorate the contributions of Virginia and Edward Lujan to the center.

The three pieces will be installed in late May between the two outdoor staircases of the main building.

In 2018, Castillo was featured in the show “Heavy Metal” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. The exhibit was the fifth in the museum’s Women to Watch series.

During Castillo’s workshop, there will be a discussion on surrealism as a whole focusing on female artists, followed by a painting activity for the attendees.

“They will get to create a painting using surrealist techniques and taking inspiration from the artists discussed,” Romero said.

Since the TTF Art Space is being renovated, Castillo’s workshop will be from 6-9 p.m., Friday, April 26, at the Belen Public Library. There is no charge but there is a $5 suggested donation.

Prior registration isn’t required, Romero said, but it would be helpful if attendees could either sign up at the Belen Art League Gallery or send an e-mail to info@throughtheflower.org so organizers can get a rough head count for materials prior to the workshop.

“We want the public to come. These community events help us at Through the Flower focus on our goal of art education,” Romero said.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.