Sargent's Daughters is pleased to present “Brothers”, the second solo exhibition of New York based artist Jordan Casteel. The exhibition will be comprised of eight new oil paintings, created while the artist was in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s “Process Space” residency on Governor’s Island. Sargent’s Daughters has produced a catalogue on the occasion of the exhibition, with commentary by Jiréh Breon Holder, Didier William and Dexter Wimberly.
Casteel continues in her exploration of black men’s lives and relationships, but, for the first time, turns her attention to the connection of black men to each other. In her previous body of work each figure was solitary, but here fathers, sons, brothers and children appear together, almost always at home and surrounded by familiar objects. In addition, most of the subjects are close to the artist- her own twin brother, nephew and cherished friends. This intimacy with her subjects allows for a comfortable atmosphere- the men’s personalities radiate through the paintings and involve the viewers in the complexities of their connections to each other.
Casteel’s handling of paint remains of primary importance to the work- each surface has a distinct imprint and weight. The settings of the paintings function as indications of larger significance: the University flags on the wall in “Marcus and Jace”, the records in “Three Lions” and the glimpse of the schoolchildren portraits of “The Crockett Brothers” all point to lives beyond the borders of the canvas.
This scrutiny of the apparently mundane is central to Casteel’s work. In choosing to depict black men, as they are, with weight on the prosaic as well as poetic, Casteel makes a radical choice: she depicts black men in a humanizing and sympathetic manner. As Casteel reflects: In the wake of such public continued violence against black men, it is more important than ever to contribute a vision of blackness that shows the complexities of black men instead of reducing them. These paintings address the broader scope of the human experience.
Casteel’s work addresses the larger scope of the humanity of black men, who too often are portrayed in the public sphere in a deeply politicized manner, and uses the paintings as her vehicle for addressing the wider matter of what it is to be black in today’s America. In her portrayals we are confronted with the humanity and individuality of these men and are brought into their worlds on their own terms.
Jordan Casteel was born in 1989 in Denver CO. She received her MFA in 2014 from Yale School of Art in New Haven, CT. In 2015 Casteel was awarded artist residences at Yaddo and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council as well as the 2015-16 Artist-In-Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Additionally, her work was selected for inclusion in New American Paintings Northeast Issue #116 - 2015. Casteel’s work has been featured in Flash Art, Vice, Time Out New York, The New York Observer, Blouin Artinfo and Interview Magazine. This is her second solo exhibition with the gallery.