Over the winter break I had the chance to go to the Museum of Arts & Design & see among other shows the Wendell Castle exhibit. I knew a bit about his work but seeing so many pieces in person was incredible. His massive bronze piece outside of the museum invites people to truly experience his work by sitting & touching it.
Castle is considered the father of the "art furniture" movement & for good reason. He merged sculpture & furniture in a whole new way. At first glance many of the pieces seem pure sculpture but then upon a closer look they are tables, couches & chairs.
Castle first makes foam models of his designs then using a process of stacked lamination he is able to take flat planes of wood, layer & glue them & finally carve them into swooping forms. These days much of Castle's work is made with the addition of a computerized robot. The pieces are still finished by hand but the robot allows him to create larger & more complicated forms.
More then a few have seemingly secret doors built in.
One of my favorite aspects of his work are the shadows thrown by many of the pieces.
I can't help but imagine an entry with the table above, light streaming in from large windows and shadows dancing across the floor. Be sure to watch the brief documentary on Castle, it's fascinating to hear about his childhood struggles along with his lack of art knowledge growing up as well as watch his process.
top image Butcher/Walsh courtesy Mad Museum