Vincent Castiglia (born April 8, 1982 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American painter. He is internationally acclaimed for his figurative paintings with metaphysical and often nightmarish subject matters. Castiglia paints exclusively in human blood (iron oxide) on paper.
Castiglia’s paintings are monochromatic tableaux examining life, death, and the human condition. Dominant work themes include the symbiosis of birth and death, the transience of man, and the pitfalls of mortality. The images themselves, as he sees them, form as crystallizations of Castiglia’s experiences, freed from the psyche. Through his work the viewer is forced into a re-acquaintance with life and urgency that might not otherwise take place. While many surrealists cite fantasy or dreams as their inspiration, Castiglia’s Visionary art is connected to a life story which is highly allegorical.
Castiglia is the first American artist to receive a solo exhibition invitation from Oscar Award-winning artist, H.R. Giger, to exhibit at the H.R. Giger Museum, in Gruyeres, Switzerland. Remedy for the Living, the 1st solo exhibition of paintings by Vincent Castiglia opened at the H.R. Giger Museum Gallery on November 1, 2008, and closed in April 2009.
Castiglia’s works on paper have been exhibited internationally and hang in many distinguished collections. In 2009, “Gravity”, one of his most celebrated works of 2006, was acquired by rock musician, Gregg Allman.
Castiglia’s work can be viewed as an examination of the human experience, caught in a cycle of inevitable decay and biological futility. The juxtaposition of living and dead tissue (rendered in his own biological tissue), suggests a humanity which is itself infirmed, self-perpetuating, and ultimately destructive. While these existentialist notions are conveyed, the undercurrent themes of victory and survival run forcibly through each painting. The work’s capacity to simultaneously attract and repel is evidence of Castiglia’s ability to use blood to transmit something other than fear – as a pathway for the realization and relation of truth (the artist’s truth as well as one more universal).
As decomposition and decay are so much a part of life as birth and growth, one can see this cycle occur in Castiglia’s work. Castiglia’s art confronts the innate fear of these natural phenomena and exposes their reality by the precise rendering of these conventionally intangible facts. Contradiction and struggle give the work a life of its own. His unique visual language is stripped of all but the essential elements.
Contemporary art critics have compared Castiglia’s work to old masters such as Michelangelo, the contemporary expressionist Francis Bacon, the contemporary mythologism, mythicalism and folk painter Elito Circa as well as conceptual artist Damien Hirst whose explicit portrayals of death are in similar form.