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Castle/Consalvos

  • Fleisher/Ollman 1216 Arch Street _ Floor 5, 19107 (map)

For our Summer 2019 exhibition, Fleisher/Ollman is pleased to announce Castle/Consalvos, which not only showcases the breadth of these two self-taught artists’ respective bodies of work, but also reveals an interesting resonance regarding their embrace of popular culture. 


Born profoundly deaf and believed never to have learned how to read, write, or sign, James Castle (1899–1977) spent his life making drawings, books, and constructions on his parents' Idaho farm. Initially, Castle was known for his landscapes and interiors that demonstrate a profound sense of place and rural life, drawn primarily in soot mixed with the artist’s saliva on found paper. But Castle was also an artist of his time who found inspiration in a wide range of images and ideas sourced from popular culture, including cartoons and printed advertisements, which he would copy with varying degrees of artistic license. The detritus of consumption, such as matchboxes, string, packaging materials, and found paper, became his raw materials. Interwoven throughout his work are idiosyncratic figures, depictions of totem-like objects, and pictographs that suggest language, but are ultimately ineffable. In Castle/Consalvos we include his more colorful work that resonates strongly with 1960s Pop—drawings made with colors reclaimed from crepe tissue, construction, and other pigment-rich papers soaked in water. We explore Castle’s engagement with language and narrative by showing his handmade books and his pictographic drawings (he both copied letters and invented his own writing systems). Finally, Fleisher/Ollman presents Castle’s paper constructions which depict the quotidian (folded clothing, architectural features) and the figurative (blocky, featureless characters attired in carefully creased and string-bundled paper outfits).

For our Summer 2019 exhibition, Fleisher/Ollman is pleased to announce Castle/Consalvos, which not only showcases the breadth of these two self-taught artists’ respective bodies of work, but also reveals an interesting resonance regarding their embrace of popular culture. 


Born profoundly deaf and believed never to have learned how to read, write, or sign, James Castle (1899–1977) spent his life making drawings, books, and constructions on his parents' Idaho farm. Initially, Castle was known for his landscapes and interiors that demonstrate a profound sense of place and rural life, drawn primarily in soot mixed with the artist’s saliva on found paper. But Castle was also an artist of his time who found inspiration in a wide range of images and ideas sourced from popular culture, including cartoons and printed advertisements, which he would copy with varying degrees of artistic license. The detritus of consumption, such as matchboxes, string, packaging materials, and found paper, became his raw materials. Interwoven throughout his work are idiosyncratic figures, depictions of totem-like objects, and pictographs that suggest language, but are ultimately ineffable. In Castle/Consalvos we include his more colorful work that resonates strongly with 1960s Pop—drawings made with colors reclaimed from crepe tissue, construction, and other pigment-rich papers soaked in water. We explore Castle’s engagement with language and narrative by showing his handmade books and his pictographic drawings (he both copied letters and invented his own writing systems). Finally, Fleisher/Ollman presents Castle’s paper constructions which depict the quotidian (folded clothing, architectural features) and the figurative (blocky, featureless characters attired in carefully creased and string-bundled paper outfits).

Earlier Event: June 13
2019 Graphic Design Senior Show
Later Event: June 13
Closing: ORBITS