Constructing James Castle

Exhibition Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gallery Talk and Reception
Friday | January 11 | 4:30 to 7:30pm

Constructing James Castle features selections from the art of James Castle (1899-1977), a self-trained, deaf artist who spent his life in rural Idaho. This selection focuses mostly on works that demonstrate the impact of Castle's 5-year education with the Gooding (Idaho State) School for the Deaf and Blind between 1910–1915. Though during his five years at the Gooding School he was declared "uneducable" and "illiterate," he communicated the impact of his time there through his diverse artwork that was based, in part, on the trades, training, and experiences he gained from the Gooding School.  His self-taught skill is a testament not only to his intelligence and ability, but also his artistry.

Castle created much of his art by re-purposing found objects, including materials found in his parents' general store. He portrayed the surroundings and imaginings of his daily life using matchbooks, notebooks, calendars, register receipts, twine, grocery cartons, and even soot mixed with his own saliva. Castle's drawings are compelling, illustrating both his humor and his struggles.

Featuring just a small portion of Castle's collection of works, this exhibition asks viewers to consider how deafness and disability intersect with and generate the creation of art, as well as the value of found materials as a medium in art making.

Curated by Brenda Brueggemann,  Professor at The Ohio State University in English and Disability Studies. Works in the exhibition are loaned to Urban Arts Space from the James Castle Collection and Archive in Boise, Idaho

Curated by Brenda Brueggemann.

Exhibition Support from:

  • College of Arts and Sciences Arts and Humanities Research and Creative Activity Grant, The Ohio State University
  • Greater Columbus Arts Council
  • Colony Fund of the Columbus Foundation
  • Jay and Meredith Crane Family Fund of
    The Columbus Foundation
  • Wexner Center for the Arts

Support from The Ohio State University Departments and Programs:

  • Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy
  • Department of English
  • American Sign Language Program
  • Literacy Studies Program
  • Disability Studies Program
  • Diversity and Identity Studies Collective (DISCO)