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 Robert De Castro  (1923 - 1986)

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Lived/Active: British Columbia/Manitoba / Canada      Known for: abstract carved wood sculpture

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
Abstract, wood with black stain, 17" x 9" x 1.5", circa 1983
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert de Castro was a sculptor.  He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and lived most of his life in Victoria, British Columbia where he died.
His medium was primarily wood (usually driftwood) which he carved and stained or painted. His subjects were shape, texture and colour. His style was Abstraction, Abstract Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism (1).  His works are usually black or dark blue, often with green or red accents and, in addition to carving, frequently have holes drilled in them.

Quote: "I occasionally think of my work as having kinship with that of the local Indian sailors who worked the early ships on this coast and carved scrimshaw in their off-hours, catching up any tribal or family myth, or telling a little story about their daily lives." - Robert de Castro (1967)(2).
He studied sculpture under Jan Zach (see AskART) in Victoria from 1953 to 1957.  He also studied with Herbert Siebner (see AskART) in the late 1950's.
In 1960 he was a founding member of the Point Group of Artists (1960 - 62) . Other members included Michael Morris, Herbert Siebner, Nita Forrest and Richard Ciccimarra (see all in AskART). He was also a founding member of the Limners (see AskART glossary) in 1971, a prominent group of about 18 Victoria artists, which included Maxwell Bates, Richard Ciccimarra, Herbert Siebner, Nita Forest, Myfaanwy Pavelic, Colin Graham and Pat Martin Bates (see all in AskART). He also served with the Canadian Army during World War II.
De Castro exhibited with the Limners in private, and public galleries including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (1972, 86); the Confederation Art Gallery and Museum, Charlottetown, P.E.I. (1975); and the New Brunswick Museum, St. John (1975).  He was also included in the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) Centennial Exhibition of Sculpture in 1967 which included works by the most important sculptors in Canada.  Some of the others in the exhibition were Sorel Etrog, Tony Urquhart, Guido Molinari,  Walter Yarwood, Kazuo Nakamura, David Partridge and Jan Zach (see all in AskART).
In 1996 the Maltwood Museum and Art Gallery (Victoria) had a major exhibition of his works titled Robert de Castro: A Retrospective.
His works are in many private collections. They are also in the collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Maltwood Museum and Art Gallery.
(1) Some experts, notably Sir Herbert Read, claim that Abstract Expressionism is essentially painterly because, referring to Jackson Pollock, 'it is not possible for a sculptor to be in his sculpture and not aware of what he is doing'.  However, much of de Castro's work seems to have colours, lines and shapes handled in a way that is reminiscent of abstract expressionist painters like Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell.
(2) The work he was describing was not much different in general size or appearance to the example shown by AskART.
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke

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