Friedman Benda will open Wendell Castle: A New Environment on January 10th. Castle will produce a major work – an installation of stack-laminated pieces spanning two-stories, set into an iron base. Incorporating seating pieces, a table, a lamp, and a spiral staircase leading to a tree house, or nest, the piece invites dreamers to imagine. A culmination of Castle’s own history of ideas and the resolution of a formidable technical challenge, this environment offers Castle’s public a bewitching play of abstraction, function, and fantasy.
Self-referential and set into its own floor, the environment is a room without walls, a gesamtkunswerk, where elements relate to each other, invite interaction, and are rife with repeating aesthetic motifs.
In 1969, Castle produced an “environment for contemplation,” a stack-laminated pod-like chamber with a hinged door where one could ensconce and reflect. The new environment, 43 years later will be exponentially more complicated to craft; the spiral staircase for example, appears to have regular step intervals but in fact will be built on a zigzag so that it can be hooked into the nest above. With this environment, the formula is reversed, Castle opens his work up to the public, seeking to redefine and re-set relationships.