Jordan Casteel


oil on canvas
34 x 24 x 1 inches

A sense of community permeates Jordan Casteel’s work – from the tenderness she shows each subject, the variety of people that populate her paintings, and through the subjects themselves, many of whom are neighbors and friends. Like Kerry James Marshall and Henry Taylor, Casteel focuses on the black figure, though almost exclusively men filtered through her artistic gaze. Her paintings begin as photographs of her subjects sitting in the street or inside an intimate room, and working from these she decides on the composition. In this work, she portrays a man as anonymous and vulnerable, taking a quick nap, shrouded in a bulky sweatshirt, hood, and jacket. Casteel recognizes the political tone in her chosen subject matter, and she feels driven to depict the black male body with sensitivity and humanity. Born in Denver, Casteel attended Yale for her graduate degree before moving to Harlem for her residency at the Studio Museum.