Monday, September 17, 2007

James Castle: Drawings

James Castle... Untitled (ladies Free!) (20th c., Found paper, cut and reassembled, wheat paste). From the exhibition James Castle: Drawings, September 1 - September 29, 2007 at Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle, WA. "...Opinions vary as to whether James Castle was born deaf or autistic. Clearly, he never learned to speak, read or write, and refused to be taught to communicate in any of the accepted forms of signing or finger spelling. What physical signaling he did was a highly personal expression of home signing used within his own family. Language, letters, numbers and symbols apparently meant something to him and often appear in his work, but it's unclear on what level he perceived them.
Castle's most eloquent means of expressing what he felt about the world around him was through drawing in the works on paper he made for nearly 70 years until his death in 1977. Whether sketching the domestic interior scenes of his home and family, or rendering the rustic architecture and pastoral terrain of rural Idaho, Castle tried to place the viewer within his own idiosyncratic world.
Using stove soot mixed with his own saliva on the tips of sharpened sticks, Castle devised a unique substitute for graphite or ink. Despite the rudimentary materials and eccentric technique, Castle achieves an astonishingly varied sense of light and shade in each work with powerful lines and brilliantly nuanced textures that enliven the surface. By all accounts, Castle's mastery of perspective drawing was self-taught from observation and mimicry. This ability became more assured as his work progressed over the 70 years in which he made art." More... Works by James Castle at Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, CA.


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