Studio Visit with Jordan Casteel at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Jordan Casteel's studio at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she is one of three Artists-in-Residence for the 2015-16 season. The current exhibit 'Tenses', curated by Amanda Hunt, features six of Casteel's canvases produced during the residency. Casteel's subject matter is the black male, which evolves in this exhibit, formerly portraying family members and friends in intimate domestic spaces, Casteel nows shifts to exterior settings, focusing on multi-generational Harlem residents within an urban environment. Living five blocks away from her studio, a major added benefit, allowed her to engage directly with her subjects and provided inspiration for powerful details that appear in her portraits. Casteel vividly captures the sights, smells, and sounds of the streets of Harlem and its dwellers, in all of its texture, passion, and unrelenting spirit. Through the richness and boldness of her color palette, Casteel animates her models, transforming ordinary individuals into heroic and compelling figures. In these works black men are viewed through a black female gaze, free of mainstream racial bias, it's a gaze that's humane, emotional and nurturing. In the midst of a busy and highly productive summer at the Studio Museum, Casteel also participated in the recent group show at James Cohan, and in early fall will start a teaching position at Rutgers University. At the conclusion of her Studio Museum residency which ends this fall, Casteel will be joining the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program located in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
'Tenses', includes Jordan Casteel, EJ Hill, and Jibade-Khalil Huffman and will be on view through October 30th, 2016 at the Studio Museum. Casteel is a Yale MFA graduate ('14) and has had two solo exhibits at Sargents Daughters.
Follow Jordan Casteel on Instagram @jordanmcasteel