The boxed letters in this book bear a strong resemblance to the typeface used in printing presses during Castle’s lifetime. He also drew them backwards; possibly simulating how they would be set for a press. He likely encountered a printing press while attending the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, as they were…
James Castle, Untitled (BON-TON) 24 pp. found paper, soot, string, n.d. 8 1/2 x 6 3/4 inches
This book includes drawings of what is believed to be the dormitory at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind in Gooding and demonstrates Castle’s spatial awareness. There are three interior scenes in this book, each one with a slightly different treatment of the school’s large, unadorned walls.
The near-perfect recreation of the Camel cigarette label highlights Castle’s varied approach to bookmaking, switching between actual packaging and his own drawn covers. It is not known what the repetitive rows of small drawings in this book represent.
Castle’s studies of glass bottles appear to depict the structure of these vessels. Possibly seeking to understand the bottle shapes more fully, Castle isolated elements and shifted angles to see new perspectives.
The dense, graphic patterns featured in this book often appear in Castle’s work. In these drawings he might have been experimenting with patterns as compositional elements; inserting figures of different shapes, sizes and tones into the pattern fields.
An important part of Castle’s art practice stems from recreating images gleaned from popular magazines, newspapers and other printed materials. The appropriated images in this book focus largely on political candidates, drawn from pamphlets, promotional cards and other mailers.
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