reading amy casey



     in her latest work amy casey presents an inspired mix of flat urbanism
and quirky, playful, and demented childhood fantasy. a series of small grisaille
studies executed in acrylic paint on paper depicts the plain and pathetic
mundanity that surrounds us urban dwellers: looming factories, faceless
buildings, smokestacks, fences, storage tanks and water towers, traffic lights,
and endless wires on endless poles traversing an endless sky. to make this
urban reality more tolerable casey frequently inserts the corner inn or, more
tellingly, the local liquor store, thereby hinting at the place to seek solace
from the banality of our existence. although other names appear in her work,
more often than not these establishments bear the revealing name payne,
a major thoroughfare in downtown cleveland, ohio.
     casey's larger paintings likewise explore our "payne" within the urban
landscape. in magnificent swatches of unexpected color combinations, large
and looming factory boxes are silhouetted against a cheerless yet beautiful
sky. on rare occasions, a bit of greenery or a decorative incongruity peer
from behind a brick facade or mottle a plane, perhaps indicative of a
beauty, a nature that once was or could be again.
     conspicuously absent from casey's latest work are people. conspicuously
present, however, are childhood fantasy figures that resemble rabbits, pigs,
birds, bears, or an amalgam of all four. larger than life, they take on human
characteristics, stand in bizarre profile, and evaluate their environment
through closed eyes, their strikingly colorful bodies punctuated by large
and gaping holes, (bullet!?) holes that allow us to see through to the urbanity
that created -- or destroyed -- them and us. were they blinded by the blight?
in response to their, and hence our, urban dilemma, casey creates desperate
and disparate images, images at once static in form and moving for the
viewer. by eliminating the human element from her canvas, amy casey
invites us to (re)evaluate and to fill the void she so carefully (de)constructs.

                                                                     ( to see christian gollub's interview with amy casey, click here. )
                  christian gollub

first published in amy casey: creeping through, the catalog to accompany
the exhibition at dead horse gallery, lakewood, ohio, october 8-30, 2004.