• Jordan Casteel, Charles, 2016, oil on canvas, 78 x 60".

    Jordan Casteel, Charles, 2016, oil on canvas, 78 x 60".


    Denver Art Museum
    100 West 14th Avenue Pkwy
    February 2–May 26, 2019

    Curated by Rebecca R. Hart

    “The intent of the paintings from my early works is to expose my vision of black men as a sister, daughter, friend, and lover,” says Jordan Casteel. “I want audiences to engage with them as fathers, sons, brothers, cousins.” “Returning the Gaze,” Casteel’s first major museum exhibition, embodies this long-held ethos. Comprising nearly thirty works, it showcases the New York–based artist’s large-scale oil-on-canvas portraits of friends, family, and neighbors. Often translated from photographs taken by Casteel, these portraits evoke a sense of casual, familial intimacy. They are almost self-consciously plainspoken. As the exhibition’s title suggests, Casteel’s subjects frequently look directly at the viewer, as if beckoning us to join them. But—more intriguing—many of Casteel’s sitters look past us, as if lost in a worry that we are not invited to share.