Something Darker Lurks: Lucid Dreams by Ginny Casey

by Anna Mikhailovskaia

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Blue Figures by Ginny Casey; all photos by Anna Mikhailovskaia

In Ginny Casey‘s world, nothing is too weird. In one work, shadowy creatures resemble dogs or ghosts staring back out toward the viewer. In others, inanimate objects come to life, scales shift, disassociated heads float about, and other strange things happen, all creating the wonderful universe inside Casey’s paintings.

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Works by Ginny Casey

Natural phenomena—worms squirming or snails writhing—are also relayed by other works. Tree stumps make their appearance; these are sometimes stacked, sometimes placed upright, but often imbued with symbolism that walks a fine line between humorous and tragic, as do most of Casey’s works. Thus, we find tree stumps are cut short, signifying growth stunted, and a staircase is flooded, implying immobility. The imagery appears cartoon-like and light hearted, but something darker lurks beneath the surface.

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Flooded Stairwell by Ginny Casey

The depths of this world are cloaked by the child- or dreamlike, where any object can morph into another or landscapes can shift at any given moment. Looking deeper, however, we find subject matter that is about deeper subconscious drives that compose the human mind. Carl Jung would have certainly found something to write about here. 

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Out of Shell by Ginny Casey

The physical world with all its rich peculiarities seems to be another source of inspiration for Casey. Creatures big and small, along with dirt, water, sticks, and other things one might find in nature, occupy the spaces in her paintings. The soft yet vibrant color palette and the thin, washy application of paint carefully built up on the canvas create an airy effect that feels loose and free. Colors have been carefully chosen by Casey and allude to films or cartoons she may have seen as a child such as Pink Panther or Ren and Stimpy. Similarly, fleshy tones and bulbous shapes lend themselves to the comical yet somewhat absurd feel of these works. 

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Works by Ginny Casey

In anthropomorphized objects, the figure also makes multiple appearances: Clam shells, toilets, and cups are among the objects revealing human faces or some elements thereof. In more blatant reference to the human figure, a rock (another symbol of immobility) has a pair of arms in one painting, and instead of a head, in Sport we find a basketball being crushed by the weight of a rock. Such application of pressure is further evidence of the forces—whether of nature or human psychology—at play in Casey’s world.

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(Above and below) Ginny Casey’s studio

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Ginny Casey in her studio 2014

The representation of the head is one the most recurring images in Casey’s works. The head is often disembodied from the body or morphs into another object altogether. The various representations of the head can of course signify a rich array of meanings or lack thereof, as they pertain to our understanding of the human mind. 

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Ant Hill by Ginny Casey

Casey offers viewers a free visual language that is vibrant in color and application of paint, which extends beyond their surface qualities. Looking at Casey’s works feels like lucid dreaming or being part of some semi-conscious dream state where your fears and desires can confront you as shifts in landscape or objects come to life. Fantastical or absurd, funny or sad, these works are all of the above. 

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Sport by Ginny Casey

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Ginny Casey’s studio, located at 17-17 Troutman Street #251, will be open during Bushwick Open Studios 2014 on Saturday and Sunday, May 31—June 1, 12—7PM

Anna Mikhailovskaia is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY