The Denver Art Museum welcomes home an acclaimed local artist striving for social justice causes, and diversity in portraiture. Returning the Gaze is Jordan Casteel’s first major museum exhibition; it includes 30 paintings ranging from 2014 – 2018. Through these larger-than-life artworks, the artist portrays people in her community and unsung heroes of color. The intense use of line and hue juxtaposed against intimate or revealing settings encourage the viewer to gaze back at the person and empathize with Casteel’s portraits.
Jordan Casteel (b.1989) grew up in Denver Colorado. In 2011, she moved to Decatur, GA to study Studio Art at Agnes Scott College. The artist then went on to secure an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. Casteel, who currently lives and works out of New York, NY, looked to her close family members and friends as the first subjects of her paintings. When asked why she began to focus on black men in her body of work, she replied, “I felt the world didn’t see and know them as I see and know them: as my brothers, as my father, as friends, as lovers.”