The artist often bundled his artworks and hid them in walls. Credit… Maris Hutchinson/David Zwirner.
James Castle (1899 – 1977) was born deaf in rural Idaho, and seems never to have learned to read and write. Formally untrained, he “
dedicated his life to making art among the farms and ranches in and near Boise.”
His principle medium throughout was soot from the family stove mixed with his own saliva on the repurposed material he salvaged from his family home, which doubled as a post office and general store.
(John Vincler, “Soot, Spit and Paper: James Castle’s Transfixing Worlds,” NYTimes, 1-13-22)
“Untitled” shows a farmhouse, stairs, and figure. The mix of real and imagined feels starkly contemporary and conceptually rich. Credit… James Castle Collection and Archive LP.
Castle would bundle his works and hide them away in walls and outbuildings, and even in holes.
Untitled” (farmscape). Cut off from the art world, Castle incorporated into his landscapes sculptural elements, like power lines, that look surprisingly contemporary. Credit… James Castle Collection and Archive LP.
Not included in a Castle exhibition at the David Zwirner Gallery of Manhattan are “… his drawn reproductions of product packaging, his handmade books and calendar-like constructions, as well as his experiments with hand-drawn typography.”
Untitled (flamingo construction),” one of several bird constructions. Credit… James Castle Collection and Archive LP.
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