James Castle Untitled (Gray bird), not dated Torn and cut paper and cardboard; sewn and tied with white cotton string; soot, soot wash, gray wash, and traces of red pigment Private collection, Minneapolis
James Castle: The Experience of Every Day
May 21, 2016 - August 21, 2016
James Charles Castle (1899-1977) was a brilliantly original American artist whose creative practice and daily life were intimately entwined. Born profoundly deaf, he spent his entire life with his parents and other family members on a succession of farmsteads in southwest Idaho. The geographic remoteness of his rural home and studio was amplified by a social isolation, as he never learned to read, write, speak, sign, or lip-read. Yet he discovered an abiding need and acumen for personal expression, born of his instinctive visual perception and anchored in his everyday experience.
This exhibition, organized by Mia’s Department of Prints and Drawings, explores Castle’s extensive and highly inventive body of work: drawings, handmade books, collages, and three-dimensional constructions produced from found materials (scrap cardboard, paper, string, ribbon, advertising, food labels, and printed text) and invented media, tools, and techniques. Ingenious and engagingly improvisational, his work serves as a visual chronicle of his day-to-day experiences, an intimate record of life on his family’s farm, and expression of his dreams, memories, and fantasies.
A fully illustrated catalogue produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Art accompanies this exhibition and is available for purchase in The Store at Mia.