Light brown corrugated cardboard faced with tan paper; cut, folded, wrapped, and adhered; sewn and tied with white cotton string, blue cotton string, sisal twine; red-brown wash, red-brown wax crayon, soot, wood. Private collection, Minneapolis.
For this large-scale construction, Castle combined pictorial and sculptural elements to create a highly distinctive interpretation of a common wooden chair. At nearly two feet tall, the work is larger than most of his constructions, approaching the actual size of a child’s chair. It functions on two distinct planes—emblematic and descriptive—mimicking the form and physical attributes of its model. Is this chair, or is this an image of chair? It’s actually both, a hybrid that challenges our preconceived notion of “chairness.”
[About] James Castle
The Experience of Every Day
James Charles Castle was a self-taught American artist who lived his entire life in southwest Idaho. Born profoundly deaf in 1899. Castle grew grew up on a modest farmstead operated by his parents and seven siblings. The family farm would become a lifelong sanctuary for Castle, who remained at home with his parents until their death. and then with other relatives until his own death in 1977. Despite his family’s unwavering love and support. Castle was socially isolated, due to is inability to communicate conventionally. As a child. he attended a school for the deaf and blind, but never learned to read. write. speak sign. or lip-read. He never married or had children of his own.