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The Contemporary Pacific 17.2 (2005) ix

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About the Artist

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Ric R Castro is a native Chamorro, raised on the family beach in the north of the island of Guam. Currently associate professor of art at the University of Guam, he is primarily known for his paintings but also does printmaking and stone carving. Castro studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (associate degree in specialized technology) where he won Best in Show his final year; the University of Pennsylvania (bachelor of fine arts); and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia (four-year certificate and master of fine arts), where he received a Ware Travel Award to experience art in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The recipient of other numerous awards, he has exhibited his paintings and prints in the continental United States as well as in Japan, Tahiti, and the Philippines.

Castro utilizes his personal experiences and memories of growing up in an island environment to produce expressionistic paintings that strip away the narrative and allow the work to retain a level of ambiguity, unified with energy and movement to keep its audience curious but engaged in spiritual contemplation. His most experimental and personal work merges formalistic qualities of modernism with a dialogue steeped in indigenous meanings. Castro's quest is not only to discover his cultural identity through art, but also to find his artistic identity through culture.

His aggressive, contemporary abstract style runs contrary to what can be found among many of Guam's artists who tend toward more traditional forms of realism to convey their perceptions of island life and themes. In Castro's art, rather than an idyllic tropical paradise filled with white sand beaches, clear waters, and brightly colored flowers, you will catch a glimpse of a rougher, more basic, elemental, and primal nature.