Viewshed: Impressions of Place

May 15, 2019 – August 31, 2019

The small shed that stands on the property at 5015 Eugene Street has survived for over a century, through decades of development and modernization, of changing residents and shifting property lines. It is significant not only as a monument to the history of the site, but also because it served as James Castle’s primary living space and studio for over 30 years. Throughout that time, this humble structure became the centerpiece of Castle’s existence—a place of uninterrupted peace and solitude where he created much of the work that remains today. The shed provided him the space and context to create from his memory, his observations, and his imagination. It is unsurprising that many of Castle’s works explore the shed itself. He investigates its relationship to the surrounding landscape and buildings, to reflect his own intimate experience of the space. Through his drawings, we gain insight into how he engaged with the building and its significance in his own life.

The shed today provides a vital link between the present and the past to allow us a rare glimpse of Castle’s inner life. His presence is palpable. The boards and cupboards evoke a sense of his daily life along with other traces that appear unexpectedly in the form of pencil stubs and sooty smudges that remain despite the passing decades. The shed is a crucial component to the James Castle House experience and provides depth and connection when we share the story of the remarkable artist and this site. To ensure its lasting presence, our efforts for the next few years will focus on conservation of the shed and its integral and historic value.

In partnership with: James Castle House

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