Monday, October 12, 2009


When it comes to the art of Amy Casey, ‘House Casey’ is probably not a brand the artist wants for her themed work. Nonetheless she had to know what she was getting into and how viewers would react. She stems from a new, noisy generation of painters full of journal entries. She breaks from that crowd with exercised, vivid authority, hardly detached from events, the show is a cautionary tale.

“Uncertain Times”, Casey’s current exhibition at the Zg Gallery consist of works driven by her recurring dreams of a world calamity. Here the artist captures bad dreams, recurring sessions of buildings collapsing, ecological catastrophes, reflections of the current nervous state of affairs of society.

“Composition is something very intuitive for me, and I usually lightly sketch out a piece with that first plan and keep it around to look at in my studio while I am forming the painting in my mind, then I block forms in very lightly and work the composition out-usually over a few days or even weeks, by taping bits of paper to the painting and trying different shapes and movements,” she says.

There is amazing detail and sensitivity in Casey’s work. With shades of rust, browns and deep reds and precision, the artist lays out an almost surreal landscape of urban landscapes in decay. Casey applies acrylic to paper, a technique allowing for exacting detail. With her “BigCity, Small Town”, a large work, she exhaust every house used in previous works. She references houses and buildings from her native Cleveland. Structures appear strapped together in absurd attempts to save themselves. “I focused on something that has bothered me for some time about my little communities and networks- that no matter how many group together it must be impossible to get from building to building and actually interact in some real way, which seems absurd since connection seems an important part of the idea,” Casey shares.

In other works stilts are used as a survival strategy for the houses and in others lines have snapped leaving the structures in a state of collapse. In her, “Stragglers” some structures are washed, producing an effect of dust rising, a fog.

There is no debate in Casey’s work. Here is a non-negotiable exhibit of failed fixers and engineers. Her environmentalist aesthetic is translated in a distinctly dramatic fashion. “My biggest struggle with individual pieces is wanting to make every tiny bit of the painting detailed and real to the best degree I can,” she concludes, “but being up against the reality of time and also not overworking something to death. Probably my next biggest struggle when working with a piece is dealing with accidents and having to rethink something that I felt I knew so well.”
(Jeffery McNary) October 5, 2009

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