Lyell Castonguay’s work is a fantastical representation of the animal world’s grandeur of appearance. He depicts his subjects in striking poses with countenances that express a range of personified emotions. Castonguay creates compositions in response to something he has absorbed as an avid consumer of natural history, literature, and entertainment.

Castonguay believes animal subjects achieve great spiritual and emotional power through an idolized form. He strives to create partially abstracted animal representations like predecessors Elliot Offner and Leonard Baskin. His art sets the stage for animal-inspired dramas, and the viewer is left to interpret how the scene will unfold.

Castonguay’s primary mode of expression is woodblock printmaking. He considers printmaking a refined iteration of his drawing process, and concepts begin as simple sketches on paper. Sumi-e ink, in combination with a dip pen and brushes, is used to establish general spontaneous forms. Sharpie and ball-point pens are employed to draw ornate feather and fur textures. It is not uncommon for Castonguay to redraw the same image numerous times to reach a harmonious balance of marks.

Castonguay transfers the drawing to high-quality plywood. Then he moves on to the most time-consuming part of the process, carving. The artist uses Japanese hand tools to chisel around each drawn line. Larger and more complex compositions can take weeks to complete.

Ink is applied to the woodblock’s surface using a rubber brayer. Proper application is essential: too much ink will fill in finely carved details, too little ink will cause the finished print to look spotty. Finally, Castonguay places fine art paper on the inked woodblock. An etching press applies even pressure, and the force transfers ink from the woodblock to paper. The result is a finished woodblock print.

GALLERY REPRESENTATION

Brumfield Gallery, Astoria, OR

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Archille Bertarelli Collection, Milan, Italy
The University of Michigan Art Library, Ann Arbor, MI
New York Public Library, New York, NY
Hampshire College Special Collections, Amherst, MA
Wheaton College Special Collections, Norton, MA
University Museum of Contemporary Art, Amherst, MA

EXHIBITIONS (Solos*)

2022

Life Aquatic, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Hyattsville, MD
Maine Open Juried Art Show, The Framemakers, Waterville, ME
Creative Edge Group Exhibition, Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts, Brattleboro, VT

2021

Print-Making an Impression, Hess and Leyt Galleries, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA
Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society Retrospective, Lewis Gallery, Portland Public Library, Portland, ME
New Editions, Brumfield Gallery, Astoria, OR
10×10 Invitational, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Hyattsville, MD

2019

Boston Printmakers North American Print Biennial, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Carnegie Gallery, Columbus Metropolitan Main Library, Columbus, OH
Wolfe Gallery, Maumee Valley Country Day School, Toledo, OH
Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts, Brattleboro, VT*

2018

American Frame, Maumee, OH
Ronald Reagan National Airport, Arlington, VA
Lord Hall Gallery, University of Maine, Bangor, ME
Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts, Brattleboro, VT
Riverviews Artspace, Lynchburg, VA
Chases Garage & Artists Studios, York, ME
Art Gym Denver, Denver, CO
Kittery Community Center, Kittery, ME
McGowan Fine Arts, Concord, NH
Imprint Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR

2017

Blue Hill Art & Cultural Center, Pearl River, NY
Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gallery, Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Cleveland, OH
Diane Kidd Gallery, Tiffin University, Tiffin, OH
Muzeul National al Hartilor si Carti Vechi, Bucharest, Romania
Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme, CT

2016

Deerfield Academy, South Deerfield, MA*
Editions/Artists’ Books Fair, New York, NY
Dedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA
APE Gallery, Northampton, MA
Castle of Agliè, Turin, Italy

2015

Seoul Museum of Art, Korea
York Art Association, York, ME
Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA
Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT*
Western New England University, Springfield, MA*
Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA*

2014

Eashampton City Arts+, Easthampton, MA*
Salmon Falls Artisan Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA

2013

D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

2012

Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton, MA
Rose Contemporary, Portland, ME
APE Gallery, Northampton, MA
Soo Rye Gallery, Rye, NH

2011

A4 Printmakers, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Aberystwyth University, Wales, United Kingdom
Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, PA
Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA

AWARDS & GRANTS

2022

Best in Show, Maine Open Juried Art Show, Waterville, ME

2015

Best in Show, York Art Association, York, ME

2014

Solo Exhibit Grantee, Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA

2013

Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, Boston, MA

MEMBERSHIPS

Boston Printmakers
Southern Graphics Council
Zea Mays Printmaking