January 22, 2018
On behalf of The Delaware Contemporary, we join the world of art and design in collective grief as we learned of the passing of Wendell Castle, a gentle luminary renowned as "the father of the art furniture movement." Wendell Castle and his wife Nancy Jurs share a history with The Delaware Contemporary through two major exhibitions in Wilmington, DE, one in 1996 and one recently, Then & Now, on display from May 5 to August 6, 2017.
Castle’s incomparable artistic brilliance kept him on the edge of discovery always questioning standard modes of form and function: why not design a chair with three legs, or a dining room table with one leg? His keen intuition in selecting material, innovative ideas, and mastery of medium earned him international respect, becoming an influential source of inspiration for students, emerging artists, and his own contemporaries. He was always willing to talk to visitors or other woodworkers, show them his studio, his new tools, his newest work in various stages of completion, or regale them, in classic, soft-spoken Castle wit from his “10 Adopted Rules of Thumb.” Rule #2: It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame. Inside the frame of grief, it is difficult to see how his shoes will be filled. Still, his thumbprints of extraordinary mastery in depth and breath are cause for celebration for what he achieved.
Wendell Castle, master sculptor, father, husband, will be missed and celebrated.
1932 – 2018
Kathrine Page, Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art
THEN AND NOW
Wendell Castle & Nancy Jurs
May 5 - August 6, 2017
THEN: In 1996, The Delaware Contemporary hosted a major exhibition for this internationally recognized couple.
NOW: Experience the evolution of their work twenty-one years later.
Jurs integrates extant art, or objets d’art, into radically innovative new ensembles. Her methodology of detournement alters "familiar" objects into a variation that gives the viewer a renewed appreciation.
Castle’s approach to organic sculpture stems from a mindful selection of material, honored through his process of design. Using cutting-edge ideas and mastery of material, whether wood, metal, or molded plastic, he celebrates a sustained continuity of work that is aesthetically stunning, transcendent, and yet practical.
For this powerhouse couple from Scottsville, NY, art and life insolubly entwine the essence of their familial and professional relationship. Wendell Castle and Nancy Jurs have gained an international reputation not simply for their wood and ceramic sculptures housed around the globe, but for their commitment to craftsmanship.
Carole Bieber & Marc Ham Gallery
Photo Credit: Dan Brody