What I find mostly breathtaking about Wendell Castle, beyond his superb talent and unparalleled control over his discipline, beyond his sweetest personality and genuine, real character, is the way he has never repeated himself, always inventing, always renewing, never going back, but departing over and over again, each chapter is built upon the previous, each comes to mark another step in his immense body of work. His new exhibition ‘Wendell Castle: Embracing Upheaval,’ opened last week at Friedman Benda is another victory, another example of fresh, unexpected devotion to his craft. If you think that you have seen it all, or if you believe that Castle has reached the peak of his ability, then you come out of this exhibition totally surprised. Three series are presented in this exhibition, each stands on its own, and together they are beautifully integrated within each other. ‘Free Forms’ is composed of volumes that look as if they grow out of natural logs, as if they are flowing above streams of trees in the most perfect balance and harmony. The series ‘Blocks, also relating to the form of the tree, but this time, growing out of masses and abstract wood blocks, as if they are carved in nature. The third series, no less surprising, consists of bronze cast sculpture and functional pieces, vaguely relate to his previous attempts in bronze, but now Castle has ultimately resolved the material. The black patina is a great choice, and the forms no longer look as if they were made for wood, but successfully represent the quest to master the bronze. And while he has six-decade of a spectacular career behind him, Castle embodies the core principle of his identity as “a true artist or designer," as he announces in the essay published in the exhibition catalog, "is someone who does something for the first time, something, human, something that touches others." The exhibition opens until August 11th. All images courtesy Friedman Benda.
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