About This Exhibition

Jordan Casteel: Harlem Notes is an exhibition of recent paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel. These detailed portraits explore intimacy and the immortalization of her subjects.

Each painting hints at a treasure trove of stories and memories shared between Casteel and her subject. Perhaps as much autobiographical as observational, Casteel’s paintings are imbued with the tenderness of her gaze. Family, neighbors, patrons – all enter her studio through a photographic snapshot captured in the specificity of their space before being projected in paint onto the surface that immortalizes. Resting with grandeur on the canvas, the subjects penetrate in a scale that is just slightly larger than life.

Through color, Casteel both embraces and pushes back against signifiers of blackness, revealing a multiplicity in tone and hue that feels supernatural in its matter-of-factness. Offering a chromatic spectrum that mirrors the complexity of being and circumvents any singular reading, these works tease what is familiar while chronicling what is lived in that very moment.

Building a tapestry of structure and dimension through a weaving of loose and tightly knit brush strokes, Casteel builds upon the canvas’ plain surface an orchestra of color and texture, with the application of paint not unlike the caress of a familiar hand.

Casteel (b. 1989 in Denver, CO) received her B.A. from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA for Studio Art (2011) and her M.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking from Yale School of Art in New Haven, CT (2014). She has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, (2015) Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space, Governors Island, NY, (2015), The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2015), and is currently an awardee for The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, DUMBO, NY (2016). Casteel is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University-Newark. She currently lives and works in New York, NY and is represented by Casey Kaplan, NY.

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Image credits: Jordan Casteel, James, 2015, Courtesy of Anita Blanchard