Aurora sits on a high stool on her Brooklyn rooftop, Garfield What Do I Need With A Cowboy Hat When I Ain’t Got No Horsey Shirt wearing a Pyer Moss creation—yards and yards of blue silk that echo the sky behind her. It’s a baroque image, worthy of the Renaissance’s Pontormo. “I think of the sky as being full of endless possibilities,” Casteel says. “A lot of hope lies within that. The two birds next to her are a moment where I think of flight—the opportunity to move into new spaces. Most of the windows have the same blue that is in the sky. I like the idea that the hope of the sky came inside this urban building-scape, that whoever occupies that space within is also seeing the sky. I think about her foot being pressed against the ground. I purposely chose this active foot that feels like it’s propelling her upwards into the world above her—she’s stepping into the space of real possibility. Those are some of the things I thought about in making this portrait as it relates to hope and all the things that can exist beyond where we are right now. To create a better future, not only for ourselves but for those we love and those who will come after us.” Blue sky also appears in Marshall’s painting. For him, it represents “what’s beyond—boundlessness.” There’s hope in that as well.
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