Rescuer of Once Loved Things: The Art of Donna Castellanos

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Rescuer of Once Loved Things: The Art of Donna Castellanos March 17 - May 20, 2018

ELMHURST A R T MUSEUM


Rescuer of Once Loved Things: The Art of Donna Castellanos If you arrive early to an estate sale it’s a complete madhouse: deal hunters look desperately for underpriced gems, newlyweds pick up old pots and pans, and preteens play with detuned guitars. Much later, when the bustle is finally over, the room truly comes to life. Discarded items of little resale value remain such as outdated encyclopedias, cheap plastic statues, and boxes of zippers. These relics are often the most telling about a homeowner’s relationships, travels, and passions. Estate sales often include cheap, cute, and mass-produced items made decades ago, from the era of our parents and grandparents. I find inspiration within these settings, where nostalgic items of kitsch are co-mingled with handmade clothing and self-repaired television sets. For each piece in this exhibition, I’ve used cast-off everyday items into new assemblages. Family, friends, and museum guests are invited to explore the “home” I have created within the museum. I hope they will enjoy stepping into each thematic room, whether the study, playroom, dressing room, or workshop. I would like all visitors to stop, consider familiar objects in a new way, and explore their own creativity at the community art tables. The Fiber Forest This installation highlights the love of sewing, crafting, and textiles that I share with other women in my family. The gallery’s connection to the park inspired my memories of spending time with my family hiking in the woods, fishing, and biking. I have vivid memories of fishing with my father as a child, and I’ve passed along that passion to my children. All of the works consist of salvaged fabric, yarn, thread, and fur woven into repetitive patterns. To create pieces like the pond, Jean Pool, I collected donations of old used jeans from family and friends. Not only did I receive wonderful contributions, but many people volunteered to help transform the material. The Family Tree is the first of 3 community projects included in this exhibit, where others have a chance to express their own creativity and combine their stories with mine. My childhood home has this enormous maple tree that my siblings and I would spend hours sitting and playing in. The branches created a perfect little nook for us. Cover Image: Donna Castellanos, Chair and Ottoman, 2017 photography by Benjamin F Calvert III Insert: Salvaged dictionary page


The Study This is where you enter the interior of the "home". All the work in this room is created from cast-off dictionaries and encyclopedias. Most of the books used in this room were pulled from a dumpster, or given to me by estate sale companies. They have become obsolete: collectors don’t want the books and dealers can’t even sell them. I’m attracted to the gilded and embossed covers, the wonderful detailed illustrations, even the musty smell of the old books. In this room, I invite the visitor to flip though the dictionaries to find inspiring words and images, rip out the pages, and form them into new works. This mirrors my own practice of ripping and cutting-sometimes creating a messuntil a form begins. I hope to show how much enjoyment I get out of using found materials. The Conservatory I continued using encyclopedias and dictionaries for the work in this room. I turned each of the paper pieces into a work about nature, whether trees, animals, or amalgamations. You could say I’m bringing the material full circle from tree, to paper, back to tree. I’m very drawn to the way one experiences trees within a forest. I hope to break that feeling into segments with pieces of paper with different letters and new possible meanings. The wildlife in the room is created from encyclopedia illustrations, including animated bees and the mash-up made with collaged elements.

Donna Castellanos, Illustration Condensation, 2017 (detail) photography by Benjamin F Calvert III

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The Music Room All the pieces in this room are constructed from broken musical instruments and parts. These amazing supplies were acquired from homes of men who repaired and made musical instruments. They had a such a passion for their work and craft that they saved everything. I was able to get in and salvage as much as I could before the bulldozers came. I wish I could have rescued more‌

Donna Castellanos, String Section, 2018 (detail) In collaboration with Alfonso Castellanos photography by Benjamin F Calvert III

The Dressing Room This room captures my passion for vintage clothing and fashion illustrations. It also reflects the way I create and embellish my own clothing and jewelry. I’m very excited to have a jewelry fashion show one night during the exhibition. I have memories of going to fabric stores with my mother and grandmother, flipping through the pattern books, and feeling all the different textiles. I also recall the smell and crinkled noise made by my mother using pattern paper on our dining room table.

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Donna Castellanos, Bob's Lionel Land - Farlie the Fairy, 2017 photography by Benjamin F Calvert III

The Playroom / Bob’s Lionel Land The train parts and pieces used in this body of work were acquired from my mother’s long-time companion of over 30 years. As a young man after serving in WWII, Bob helped put himself through college by repairing Lionel trains for Sears and Robucks. Some of these trains and parts are over 50 years old. I wanted to create a kind of “fantasy play world” with these once loved train parts. It was a pleasure to create new playful pieces with this material, because Bob enjoyed fixing the trains so much. I mixed hard metal pieces with softer fabrics and textiles in a way that represents Bob’s personality: he was a difficult person at times, but had a soft and giving heart. The Work Room This room contains artwork made from obsolete equipment used in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember using these old computer storage disks, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, and old typewriters. For the third community art project, Homework Station, I reused little statues we used to buy as children and gave away as gifts. Every year we reminded my father that he was the "Greatest Dad", or my mother was "Super Mom". I kept seeing these silly little statues at thrift shops and estate sales, so I started picking them up because they made me recall those memories.

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CHECKLIST All works by Donna Castellanos

Front Desk Guest Book, 2017 Encyclopedias and wooden box 13 x 6 x 9 in. Courtesy of the artist

Macrame Waterfall, 2015-17 Rope and glass beads 72 x 54 in. Courtesy of the artist

The Bathroom

Organ Mice in the Thistle Field, 2018 Pins, sewing notions, and pipe organ pieces 48 x 36 x 18 in Courtesy of the artist

Good Karma, Bad Karma, 2017-18 Porcelain Approximately 1 x 1 in. each Courtesy of the artist

Pet at Your Own Risk, 2017 Rusted pins on salvaged flour sack 34 x 45 in. Courtesy of the artist

The Beach, 2015 Salvaged suede 40 x 31 in. Courtesy of the artist

Pom Pom Pines (9 Trees), 2017 Yarn and salvaged textiles 9.5 ft Courtesy of the artist

The Fiber Forest

The Family Tree (Community Project), 2018 Buttons and recycled fabric 128 x 9 in. Courtesy of the artist

Forest Friend - Blue Heron, 2018 Recycled denim and found tools 54 x 25 x 18 in. Courtesy of the artist

The Study

Forest Friend - Brush Baby, 2017 Recycled fabric and found tools 10 x 4 x 4 in. Courtesy of the artist

Chair and Ottoman, 2017 Encyclopedia set covers 42.5 x 23 x 24 in. and 14 x 11 x 8 in. Courtesy of the artist

Forest Friend - Oh Deer, 2017 Recycled fabric and found tools 37 x 16 x 12 in. Courtesy of the artist

Clock, 2018 Encyclopedia set covers and salvaged clock 21 x 14 x 4 in. Courtesy of the artist

Forest Friend - Soft Snail, 2017 Recycled fabric and found tools 20 x 15 x 8 in. Courtesy of the artist

Encyclopedia Landscape, 2017 Encyclopedia set 26 x 49 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist

Forest Friend - Time Flies, 2017 Recycled fabric, fur, instrument parts, dictionary, and cooking timer 26 x 9 x 11 in. Courtesy of the artist

Homework Station (Community Project), 2018 Salvaged dictionaries dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist

Helicopters, 2018 Printed fabric, buttons, and wool felt 58 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist

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Jean Pool, 2017-18 Recycled denim jeans 20 x 12.5 ft. Courtesy of the artist

Leather Bound, 2017 Encyclopedia set cover 30 x 10 in. and 6 x 6 in. Courtesy of the artist


Read to Me (Klimt Study), 2017 Sheet music, book covers, and lace 23 x 15 in. Courtesy of the artist

The Goltermann's Go to Berlin (Cornell Study), 2018 Pieces from Berlin Wall and photographs 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. Collection of Marcia and Robert Goltermann

Rug, 2017 Encyclopedia pages 33 x 61 x 1 in. Courtesy of the artist

The Story Tree, 2015 Encyclopedia set and acrylic on canvas 36 x 60 in. Collection of Tom and Jennifer Trenta

Turned On Turned Off, 2016 Vintage dictionary, encyclopedia, anatomy book covers, and light switches 24 x 45 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist

Tree of Knowledge, 2015 Encyclopedia set and gold acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 in. Collection of Anne and Dan Gardner

Windows, 2017 Encyclopedia pages 55 1/2 x 32 in. (2 pcs) Courtesy of the artist

The Music Room

Wrapped in a Book, 2018 Encyclopedia set covers 24 x 36 x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist The Conservatory 23 Volume, 2017 23 volume encyclopedia set and gold acrylic on wood board 70 1/2 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist 23 Volume Forest, 2017 23 volume encyclopedia set and gold acrylic on canvas 36 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist A Swarm of Busy Bearded Bees in History, 2015 Encyclopedia books and acrylic 48 x 36 x 1 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist Compton's Tree, 2016 Encyclopedia set and gold acrylic on canvas 36 x 24 in. Collection of Anne and Dan Gardner Counting Leaves, 2012 Book pages 11 x 9 x 4 in. Collection of Michael & Carolyn Ubriaco Illustration Condensation, 2017 Encyclopedia set covers 101 x 81 in. Courtesy of the artist

Dress for the Symphony, 2014 Musical string instruments and acrylic 32 x 17 x 5 in Courtesy of the artist Music Men, 2017 Cello pieces and sheet music on board 20 1/2 x 24 x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist Tune on Tone, 2014 Musical instruments, sheet music, and acrylic on canvas 12 x 36 in. (each) Collection of Ramelle and Rich Sarna Tweet Music (Black), 2016 Wood box, paper pulp, and player piano rolls 28 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist Tweet Music (White), 2016 Wood box, paper pulp, and player piano rolls 22 x 16 1/2 in. (2 pcs) Courtesy of the artist Piano Play Paper Poppies, 2016 Player piano rolls and gold leaf on canvas 40 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist Song Bird, 2014 Musical string instruments and acrylic 55 x 20 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist String Section, 2018 String instrument pieces, sheet music and acrylic 26 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 16 in. In collaboration with Alfonso Castellanos Courtesy of the artist

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The Dressing Room Ball Gown , 2018 Baseballs, softballs, and acrylic on canvas 60 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist Cute As a Button Buttons and garters on canvas 48 x 26 in. Courtesy of the artist Dressed to the 9's, 2015 Found objects and acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist She's So Brassy, 2010 Brass hoops on wrapped canvas 36 x 18 in. Collection of Teri Litavsky and Daniel Melvin She Rules (Klimt Study), 2016 Rulers, violin pieces, chicken wire, and salvaged wood 30 x 17 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist Wired (Matisse Study), 2016 Sandpaper, hardware, wire, and acrylic on canvas 40 x 16 in. Courtesy of the artist The Play Room

Bob's Lionel Land - Geep, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 10 x 7 x 6 in. Courtesy of the artist Bob's Lionel Land - Fusee in the Fiddle Yard, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 24 x 17 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist Bob's Lionel Land - Lunar and Her Little Lionels, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 12 x 7 x 3 in. and 10 x 9 x 7 in. Courtesy of the artist Bob's Lionel Land - Operation Staff, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 35 x 9 x 2 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist Bob's Lionel Land - The Pilot, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 14 x 6 x 7 in. Courtesy of the artist Bob's Lionel Land - Wigwags, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 38 x 8 x 16 in. Courtesy of the artist

Bob's Lionel Land - Cap'n, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 6 x 9 x 4 in. Courtesy of the artist

Keep Your Eye on the Ball, 2017-18 Baseballs, softballs, silver leaf, and acrylic on canvas 60 x 67 in. Courtesy of the artist

Bob's Lionel Land - Doodlebugs, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 11 x 18 x 4 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist

Slowball, 2018 Baseballs, shoe forms, and roller skates 21 x 12 x 8 in. Courtesy of the artist

Bob's Lionel Land - Farlie the Fairy, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 16 x 7 x 6 in. Courtesy of the artist

Time Stopped in One's Tracks (Magritte Study) , 2016 Lionel train parts, rulers, and wood scraps on wood board 31 x 23 x 11 in. Collection of Mike Gardner

Bob's Lionel Land - Free-mo, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 20 x 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist

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Bob's Lionel Land - Gauge, 2017 Recycled fabrics and toy train parts 10 x 11 x 6 in. Courtesy of the artist

Train Conductor (Modigliani Study), 2016 Lionel train parts and train catalog pages on wood board 37 x 16 in. Collection of Robert and Rebecca Villiard


The Work Room Baby Cassette Tape-Bird, 2016 Cassette tape and acrylic on canvas 24 x 8 in. Courtesy of the artist Bit by Bit, 2016 Sanding tools, wire screen, and salvaged wood 15 x 24 x 2 1/5 in. Courtesy of the artist Chicken Scratch, 2018 Rusted pins, wheels, and wood box 9 x 7 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist Cut, Sand, Nail, 2016 Sandpaper, nails, wire, and piano keys 61 x 37 x 1 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist Family of Four, 2014 Salvaged wood and metal parts 60 x 20 x 11 in. Collection of Diane Christman Floppy, 2017 Floppy disks and acrylic on canvas 48 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist I Meshed Up (Michelangelo Study), 2016 Wire mesh, washers, and sandpaper 30 x 40 x 1 1/2 in. Collection of Diane Christman My Father's Locker, 2017 Japanese gold foil papers, found hardware and acrylic on canvas 72 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist Number's Guy, 2015 Found wood, keyboard keys, rulers, and metal stamps 50 x 4 x 2 in. Collection of Dawn Castro Tell Me About It (Community Project), 2017-18 Found statues, salvaged book covers, and typewriters 53 x 38 x 4 1/2 in. In collaboration with Alfonso Castellanos Courtesy of the artist

Smoking Gun, 2018 Wood box with rusted bullet casings, and found metal 28 x 5 x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist Unhinged, 2018 Doorhinges 9 x 9 x 4 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist What type of bird is this?, 2009 Acrylic, typewriter parts, and acrylic on wood 26 x 7 1/2 in. and 17 x 3 1/2 in. Collection of Teri Litavsky and Daniel Melvin Video Homing Starling (VHS), 2016 Video tape and acrylic on canvas 48 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist Riveting Landscape (Klimt Study), 2016 Rivets and metal disks on window screen 31 x 30 1/2 in. Collection of Robert and Rebecca Villiard

Hallway Fungus Among Us, 2017-18 Birch bark, porcelain, and gold leaf on wood 31 x 4 x 1 1/2 in. (3 pcs) Courtesy of the artist In Flight, 2015 Acrylic and gold leaf on used drop cloth 150 x 27 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist Riveting Bouquet, 2017 Rivets, wire, metal screen, train parts, and springs 39 x 12 x 8 in. Courtesy of the artist Sow Your Seeds, 2017-18 Sewing notions, pins, and thread 39 x 19 x 9 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist Strings Blooming in Spring, 2018 Sewing notions, pins, and thread 84 x 30 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist

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PUBLIC PROGRAMS

All programs are free with museum admission or current membership unless otherwise indicated Members’ Reception Friday, March 16 | 7 - 9 pm A members-only preview of Rescuer of Once Loved Things: The Art of Donna Castellanos. Sponsored by Paula Pezza of PEZZA REALTY. Hospitality provided by Joan Eichorst, Doti Liquors, Roz Long of RGL Marketing for the Arts, Elmhurst Brewing Company, and Marco's Table and Events. Family Day: Scavenger Hunt Saturday, March 24 | 1 - 4 pm Families are invited to take a closer look at the exhibition with a scavenger hunt to find hidden images as well as cleverly reused and transformed found objects. When the search is completed, they are invited to dig through a treasure chest to find salvaged materials to assemble their own art piece. Artist-led Tour and Activity Saturday, April 7 | 1:30 - 3:30 pm Castellanos will give a tour of her exhibition, highlighting common items that she has repurposed. She will then lead a hands-on art making activity with items acquired from SCARCE, an award-winning environmentally conscious nonprofit. Book Discussion: "The Keeper of Lost Things" by Ruth Hogan Tuesday, April 10 | 6:30 - 8 pm In conjunction with the Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst Art Museum presents a discussion of Ruth Hogan’s book “The Keeper of Lost Things.” This clever and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us. Register in advance by calling (630) 834-0202. Have No Fear: Jewelry Fashion Show Friday, April 13 | 7 - 9 pm Elmhurst Art Museum presents a runway fashion show featuring the handmade wearable art by the exhibiting artist. Castellanos has created a line of wearable artwork available for purchase exclusively at the museum and Victoria's on Main. Tickets $10 per person. Food and beverages will be provided. Registration online or at the door. Artist-led Tour and Activity Saturday, April 21 | 1:30 - 3:30 pm Castellanos will give an in-depth tour of her exhibition. She will then lead a session in which participants are invited to use found materials to make their own artwork. Family Day: Scavenger Hunt Saturday, May 12 | 1 - 4 pm Families are invited to take a closer look at the exhibition with a scavenger hunt to find hidden images as well as cleverly reused and transformed found objects. When the search is completed, they are invited to dig through a treasure chest to find salvaged materials to assemble their own art piece. 9


Donna Castellanos (b. 1966) has been in the Elmhurst community since she was born, and now gives back to the community as an artist, curator, and educator. As the Elmhurst Art Museum’s Education Program Coordinator, she teaches a variety of classes and designs interactive interpretive displays for each of the major exhibitions. Since 2013 she has been the art director and curator for Flight 112, a local bar, restaurant and gallery in Elmhurst. Castellanos received a degree in graphic design from the American Academy of Art in Chicago.

Acknowledgments Thank you to Paula Pezza of PEZZA REALTY for sponsoring the opening reception and to Joan Eichorst, Doti Liquors, Roz Long of RGL Marketing for the Arts, Elmhurst Brewing Company, and Marco's Table and Events for providing hospitality. I have so many people to thank for this exhibition. I would like to extend a special thank you to friends, family and the community for helping to create the works in my show--through donated materials, production parties, and moral support. Thank you to all of those who lent works from their collection: Dawn Castro, Diane Christman, Anne and Dan Gardner, Mike Gardner, Marcia and Robert Goltermann, Teri Litavsky and Daniel Melvin, Ramelle and Rich Sarna, Tom and Jennifer Trenta, Michael and Carolyn Ubriaco, Robert and Rebecca Villiard Special contributions by: Ben Calvert: frame work and art direction assistance Anne Gardner: Family Tree slip covers Joan Eichorst: sewing hundreds of buttons and Pom Pom extraordinaire Jeremy Marsan: music score and soundscape Alfonso Castellanos: carpentry work and all around Renaissance man Luisa Castellanos: for being the #1 assistant an artist and mother could ask for

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Elmhurst Art Museum is a welcoming center to view and experience the visual arts of our time. The Museum galleries, Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, and Education Center enrich people’s lives by deepening their knowledge of art, architecture and design, increasing their understanding of the relevance of visual art in our society and sparking the development of individual creativity.

ELMHURST A R T MUSEUM 150 S Cottage Hill Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126 630.834.0202 | elmhurstartmuseum.org

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