Although deaf artist James Castle (1899-1977) was never able to demonstrate a “fully cogent understanding of written or spoken language,” he created drawings, books, collaged objects, and constructions using materials found in his family’s Garden Valley, Idaho, home, which doubled as the local post office and dry goods store. Castle adorned packaging, mail, and flattened matchboxes with a mixture of soot and saliva that he applied with sharpened sticks and cotton wads. In an essay from the exhibition catalog that accompanied the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s James Castle: A Retrospective, curator Ann Percy writes of the self-taught artist’s “endless visual and conceptual investigations of alphabets, altered letter forms, ‘calendars,’ … and text art,” concluding, “If nothing else, he fully understood the power of words and the consequence of books to human endeavors.” This is the second exhibition of James Castle’s work at Lawrence Markey. Free, opening reception: 5:30-7:30pm Thu, Dec 2, Lawrence Markey, 311 Sixth St., (210) 228-9966, lawrencemarkey.com. On view through Fri, Jan 28.