Kith & Kin, a site specific, public art sculpture by Boise artist Troy Passey, has been selected for the James Castle House. As an homage to American artist James Castle, Kith & Kin monumentalizes Castle’s imaginative vision and encourages viewers to be more attuned to their world. The project is anticipated to be installed in summer/fall 2019.
The opportunity to add a significant sculptural public artwork at the James Castle House was identified during the final phases of the site plan. The large-scale, iconic work of art would both serve as a piece that draws from the internationally known, Idaho artist, James Castle, and to celebrate and announce the house to visitors and passersby.
PUBLIC ART PROCESS
The Public Art team collaborated with the James Castle House team to develop a call-to-artists, released in Winter 2017, which identified the location and scope of work. 17 artists responded to the call and three finalists were selected to develop site-specific proposals. The three finalists were brought to Boise for a site visit and proposal development workshop where they toured the James Castle House, the James Castle Collection and Archive, and discussed the proposal requirements with Public Art staff.
The finalists were paid $500 each and allowed six weeks to develop proposals, which were submitted and reviewed by a selection panel composed of members of the Arts & History Commission, Arts & History Advisory Team, James Castle Collection and Archive, James Castle House team, James Castle family, a local artist, and the Summer 2018 James Castle House artist-in-residence.
The recommendation to commission artist Troy Passey and his project titled Kith & Kin was approved by the Arts & History Commission and the Boise City Council in July 2018.
Kith & Kin, two concrete and stainless-steel sculptures by Boise artist Troy Passey, has been selected as the signifier for the James Castle House. As an homage to James Castle, Kith & Kin monumentalizes Castle’s imaginative vision and encourages viewers to be more attuned to their world. The title Kith & Kin is inspired by neighbors and families interconnecting in the Collister and Pierce Park neighborhoods of Northwest Boise where James Castle lived and worked for over 40 years.
These sculptures bring to life Castle’s iconic drawings of columnar forms in landscapes. In numerous artworks, Castle drew both deconstructed wall sections of buildings and thin stylized trees, which he creatively and prominently placed in landscapes and farms. Kith & Kin are each comprised of a central vertical stainless steel rectangular tube which is clad in concrete panels. The surface of the panels feature text, and include details such as woodgrain, crumpled paper texture, and antique glass aggregate. At 10 feet tall, Kith suggests the rustic vernacular of the James Castle House which was literally laid bare to studs and wallboards to be preserved during the recent construction process. It also symbolizes our culture, community, neighborhoods, and our connections as humans to each other. Kin is 13 feet fall and relates to Castle’s iconic tree forms. The sculpture denotes humanity’s integral connection with the natural world and encourages visitors to view Castle’s work through a lens of ecology, as James Castle’s life and art were immersed in the landscapes of rural Idaho. Kith & Kin has interactive elements, including the opportunity for neighborhood elementary students to stow artwork inside the sculpture and a Castle-based alphabet where visitors to the James Castle House can make rubbings on paper to take away.
As one of the first pieces of public art in the surrounding neighborhood, Kith & Kin will enrich the quality of life of those who encounter them daily and will also welcome visitors to the James Castle House. Kith & Kin will offer people a chance to ponder connections to art, nature, and one other.
The project is anticipated to be installed in Summer/Fall 2019.
ARTIST: TROY PASSEY
Troy Passey lives just a few blocks from the James Castle House in Boise, Idaho. He grew up on a farm in Paris, Idaho. In his youth, Passey aspired to be a writer and began carrying a small notebook where he would scribble ideas, quotes, and observations.
In his formal education, Passey focused on creative writing, contemporary literature, and popular culture. Passey had always been interested in visual arts and while researching his master’s thesis—an ecological critique of Andy Warhol—Passey ran across a quote by Warhol that changed his life. Warhol said, “Some people are even better at their second love than their first.” Passey promptly decided to become a visual artist. He began creating artworks that incorporated words. His childhood habit of recording his world became the perfect practice for his text-based artwork.
Passey's art has been included in four Idaho Triennials. He was a recipient of an Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellowship. Passey has had solo exhibitions at the Boise Art Museum, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Gallery CTA, and the Ogle Gallery in Portland. His work has also been shown in group shows in Jackson Hole, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Miami.
In 2018, Passey collaborated with J. Reuben Appelman to create the book Woodsmoke: Reflections on Place, after James Castle. An exhibition of this work was on view at Ming Studios in Boise. Passey was the first artist in residence at the James Castle House. He has been a long-time admirer of James Castle.