BOS Studio Visit: Jenny Morgan

by Nicole Durbin

BOS Studio Visit is an ongoing series that seeks to showcase the impressive spectrum of artistic expression on display during Bushwick Open Studios. All interviews were performed during the 2014 BOS weekend.

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[AiB] How would you describe your work and themes to a layperson?

[JM] I’m a portrait painter—I work with people from my life—so it’s all based on intimate relationships. I’m trained traditionally, but I’m incorporating abstract elements and metaphorical language on top of traditional portraiture structure.

[AiB] Could you tell me about your process?

[JM] I photograph everyone myself, then work from [the photo] as a reference. I use certain techniques to abstract the realism, so I either sand down certain parts of the body, blur, or add color glazes to push the work out of the realm of the real to the more conceptual and metaphysical.

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[AiB] How does the work evolve as you go? Do you have a vision when you begin?

[JM] It depends. Sometimes I jump into it with a fully set format that I’ve worked out in Photoshop or just through writing and journaling, and sometimes the painting dictates where it goes, depending on who I’m working on and the person themselves.

[AiB] How do you decide who you want to work with, and why?

[JM] Well, they’re all people close to me, so it usually depends on what’s going on with their life and the moment and if I’m kind of attracted to them.

This portrait on the wall is another artist friend named Sharona, and I was thinking about painting her in a time when I was in this deep lull and I didn’t really know where the next body of work was coming from. I’ve always been really attracted to her work, so I needed to paint her to siphon off some of her energy, in a way! It was a mutual back and forth, but it was about honoring her creative spirit and taking some energy from that.

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[AiB] How would you say your work has evolved over the course of your career?

[JM] I’ve always worked with the figure, but in terms of growth it’s become a little more metaphorical and conceptual, jumping away from photography and photorealism and into other layers of abstraction.

[AiB] What else should people know about about your work?

[JM] That it’s based on people, and relationships, and spiritual connections, and cosmic realities and realms and matrices and…yeah.

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For more of Jenny Morgan’s work, visit her website: here.

Unlocking Doors and Gallery Closures at 17-17 Troutman

 by Sienna Reid

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Street view of mural and 17-17 Troutman (at right) during BOS’14

Among the myriad participants in this year’s Bushwick Open Studios were the residents of the 17-17 Troutman building. In addition to the artists and artisans who opened up their private work spaces to the public to showcase their work and to engage with the public, many galleries in the building curated exhibitions for the special opening. This year, poignantly, many of these galleries knew these shows would be their last in this space, as they have been asked to leave by the building manager. Even though some people retain hope that they will be able to keep their gallery doors open, most feel that the end is nigh. For obvious reasons, the mood of the gallery owners was glum. Some people are sad, but others believe it is inevitable and time to move on. Few, however, are surprised, as this pattern fits with the continual gentrification of the area.

Whether a gallerist, an artist, or a light engineer, everyone has to sell. That is the common ground uniting everyone in this building and the hustle that often keeps us apart. But socializing, sharing work, and speaking about ideas are among the most important aspects of artistic development. At least once a year, the entire community has an excuse to engage in such essential bridge-building exchanges. Bushwick Open Studios promotes interactions among artists, neighbors, and strangers. Many of those attending BOS’14 were incredibly inspired, stepping through normally closed doors to shake hands and share some time together talking about work, art, and life.

As artists, we all have different hours, deadlines, and stresses. The solitary nature of much of our work is often conducted behind shut doors in asylum-like conditions. The opportunity to meet other people does not knock very often, that is, until Bushwick Open Studios, which gave many of us the chance to open our doors and meet not only the public, but also many of our neighbors. And not just artists: 17-17 Troutman is home to all kinds of creative people, from set designers to chocolate makers, from mask makers to painters, from sculptors to print makers. A recurring theme over the three days of BOS’14 was the wish that people knew more about their neighbors. Finally meeting each other face to face, we realized how shut off we often are from each other.

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Exhibit at Parallel Art Space during BOS’14

Among the artists was Cait Oppermann, a young photographer who is co-founder of TGIF Gallery, which before closing had often featured thoughtful photographic work. Having put a lot of energy into the gallery along with Lauren Zaser, Ryan Oskin, Bobby Walsh, and Yael Malka, Opperman was depressed, though not discouraged, about having to move. Also feeling the pain of forced closure were Parallel Art Space co-founders Rob de Oude and Enrico Gomez. Their carefully curated group shows are testament to their commitment “to provide an exhibition platform based on excellence, contribution and connectivity; serving the parallel interests of artists, community and culture alike.” As an established gallery run by established artists, de Oude and Gomez reacted to their impending move with a world weariness of having to fight against marginalization.

Yet, in spite of the gallery closures, the atmosphere in 17-17 Troutman was electric, as people streamed through by the hundreds. Even with so many people, visitors often entered a studio and left just as quickly, not lingering long enough to start thinking about the work at hand…unless there is a drink to offer them. That small ice breaker led to some memorable encounters. I felt privileged to be an artist host—to pour a drink, to look someone in the eye, and to share hundreds of hours of work in the studio that led up to the preview of my works composing Sticks and Stones.

With conversations begun at BOS’14, artists and the community may find keys to unlock those doors year-round. However, we are saddened to see the galleries on the verge of disappearing from 17-17 Troutman. Experts at opening doors, the people who run these spaces have been a source of the vitality and passion permeating the building.

Unlocking Doors and Gallery Closures at 17-17 Troutman

 by Sienna Reid

image

Street view of mural and 17-17 Troutman (at right) during BOS’14

Among the myriad participants in this year’s Bushwick Open Studios were the residents of the 17-17 Troutman building. In addition to the artists and artisans who opened up their private work spaces to the public to showcase their work and to engage with the public, many galleries in the building curated exhibitions for the special opening. This year, poignantly, many of these galleries knew these shows would be their last in this space, as they have been asked to leave by the building manager. Even though some people retain hope that they will be able to keep their gallery doors open, most feel that the end is nigh. For obvious reasons, the mood of the gallery owners was glum. Some people are sad, but others believe it is inevitable and time to move on. Few, however, are surprised, as this pattern fits with the continual gentrification of the area.

Whether a gallerist, an artist, or a light engineer, everyone has to sell. That is the common ground uniting everyone in this building and the hustle that often keeps us apart. But socializing, sharing work, and speaking about ideas are among the most important aspects of artistic development. At least once a year, the entire community has an excuse to engage in such essential bridge-building exchanges. Bushwick Open Studios promotes interactions among artists, neighbors, and strangers. Many of those attending BOS’14 were incredibly inspired, stepping through normally closed doors to shake hands and share some time together talking about work, art, and life.

As artists, we all have different hours, deadlines, and stresses. The solitary nature of much of our work is often conducted behind shut doors in asylum-like conditions. The opportunity to meet other people does not knock very often, that is, until Bushwick Open Studios, which gave many of us the chance to open our doors and meet not only the public, but also many of our neighbors. And not just artists: 17-17 Troutman is home to all kinds of creative people, from set designers to chocolate makers, from mask makers to painters, from sculptors to print makers. A recurring theme over the three days of BOS’14 was the wish that people knew more about their neighbors. Finally meeting each other face to face, we realized how shut off we often are from each other.

image

Exhibit at Parallel Art Space during BOS’14

Among the artists was Cait Oppermann, a young photographer who is co-founder of TGIF Gallery, which before closing had often featured thoughtful photographic work. Having put a lot of energy into the gallery along with Lauren Zaser, Ryan Oskin, Bobby Walsh, and Yael Malka, Opperman was depressed, though not discouraged, about having to move. Also feeling the pain of forced closure were Parallel Art Space co-founders Rob de Oude and Enrico Gomez. Their carefully curated group shows are testament to their commitment “to provide an exhibition platform based on excellence, contribution and connectivity; serving the parallel interests of artists, community and culture alike.” As an established gallery run by established artists, de Oude and Gomez reacted to their impending move with a world weariness of having to fight against marginalization.

Yet, in spite of the gallery closures, the atmosphere in 17-17 Troutman was electric, as people streamed through by the hundreds. Even with so many people, visitors often entered a studio and left just as quickly, not lingering long enough to start thinking about the work at hand…unless there is a drink to offer them. That small ice breaker led to some memorable encounters. I felt privileged to be an artist host—to pour a drink, to look someone in the eye, and to share hundreds of hours of work in the studio that led up to the preview of my works composing Sticks and Stones.

With conversations begun at BOS’14, artists and the community may find keys to unlock those doors year-round. However, we are saddened to see the galleries on the verge of disappearing from 17-17 Troutman. Experts at opening doors, the people who run these spaces have been a source of the vitality and passion permeating the building.

Spirits, Zebras, and Music: BOS’14 Launch Party

by King Rucks

imageLife Size Maps performing at BOS’14; all photos by Willow Goldstein

If the biblical turnout at the Official Launch Party for this year’s Bushwick Open Studios was any indication of how popular BOS has become here in its 8th year, then Arts in Bushwick is going to need a lot more Bushwick next year to make space for the crowds. Not only did the showcase of local talent last Friday night at Radio Bushwick witness a crowd of adventure seekers who filled every space of the bar and music venue and spilled out onto Wyckoff, but the party also managed to bring out the fabled zebra centaur, three of Charlie’s Angels, and even old Beelzebub himself.

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Launch Party for BOS’14 at Radio Bushwick

In full disclosure, the Devil and Zebra-man were just two dudes dressed in weird costumes, and the Angels just the lovely dancers of the performance group Gushue Moving Arts. Regardless of such details, the party was just as epic. Featuring mostly small groups of local musicians and libations lovingly provided by the ever-reliable Brooklyn Brewery, the party managed to attract locals as well as New Yorkers from all over.

One attendee, Ji-Yoon, was dressed in all light colors and dancing near the stage. Alone but cheerful, she was clearly enjoying the music. Tammy from Harlem was paying her first visit to Radio Bushwick, saying she had just witnessed the greatest live performance she’s seen in Brooklyn. A high bar for the bands featured to reach, though high points punctuated the evening.

Providing one of those zeniths was Life Size Maps, a three-man “mechanical spaced out glitch-pop” outfit, whose complimentary dark clothing meant they were the only coordinated group to appear. A telling fact on the overall quality of the talent, but this only managed to make LSM’s act appear all the more first-class. With their video projection lighting, they had the stage presence and sound to be a headlining act. A dancing young woman agreed without hesitation that LSM were the best act of the night thus far. The fact that she turned out to be the girlfriend of Dave Stoecker, the group’s bassist, does not in the least bit diminish the validity of her opinion.

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Life Size Maps at BOS’14

Despite an A-class show, LSM received what can only be called an impotent applause—that response providing no barometer for the size of the crowd. Around 11PM, Radio Bushwick was packed, and it had become more important to be seen and to see than to hear, as so often happens during New York City musical performances. Accordingly, the live musical acts, even when exceptional, had been rendered three-dimensional DJs.

Fittingly at that moment, the lovely ladies of Gushue Moving Arts, like angels coming to the rescue, took the stage. The gyration of their shiny black leggings and native patterned tops provided just the visual stimulation needed to focus attention back on the stage. The jarring interlude in the middle of their dancing marked by five minutes of aggressive shouting of names, ending with nearly a minute of “John! John! John!,” must be chalked up to the funky and grungy mixture of styles sometimes unique to Bushwick creativity.

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Gushue Moving Arts at BOS’14

Or perhaps, inspired by American Horror Story Coven, these dancers were conjuring the dark spirits that could make BOS’14 the most successful open studios project in NYC ever. If so, their spell worked, as this year’s BOS included unprecedented numbers of participants and visitors. Moreover, and probably more importantly for Gushue that night, these dancers managed to regain everyone’s attention on a bustling evening at Radio Bushwick…even the Devil’s.

Where Depth Becomes Time: Paintings by Linda Kamille Schmidt

by Michael Sanderson

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Schmidt’s work combines geometric and organic forms; photos by Michael Sanderson

Linda Kamille Schmidt’s paintings work with layers where depth becomes time. Schmidt talked about her process of creating her colorful organic and geometric elements on wood (oil on panel) in her studio on Stewart Avenue. First, “building things up and then see how it’s going, and work it to the point where it’s kind of out of control,” she says, “and then I sand back kind of like I’m digging back into the past.” Sanding paint off the wood to reveal previous layers is a process Schmidt compares to a kind of archaeology, wherein previous layers are excavated and then rebuilt.

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Linda Kamille Schmidt in her Bushwick studio

In addition to forms and patterns, Schmidt also has a special connection to the translucent red found in her paintings. “When I was little, a friend of mine gave me a plastic party hat that was red,” she said. At five years of age, Schmidt would carry her fascination with that color to today. Originally from Kansas, Schmidt received her MA and MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Iowa and has lived in New York City for 24 years. Though she had not planned on staying, Schmidt met her future husband and plans changed. 

For Schmidt, the interplay of the past and the present through the layers of her work becomes very metaphorical. Looking at her exposed past work, she notes, “I’ll paint things on top to hide them, like I don’t want to remember that, that’s too horrifying,” Schmidt adds how, for some works, “it isn’t working [so] I get rid of it,” and “some are transparent, where you can kind of have the past and the underlying layers reforming and reinterpreting the lower layers.”

Oil on panels is not the only medium where this process plays out. “I work on Mylar a lot,” Schmidt says, tugging a translucent sheet off the wall. “I feel like I can cheat a little bit. It’s transparent—I can paint on the back and it goes into the past.” She said both sides of the Mylar can be exhibited, changing the piece based on the viewer’s position. “The backgrounds, they kind of change,” she said. In that way, whatever is on top can prompt a reinterpretation of the history that had been previously laid down.

Once preferring the refinement of custom-made expensive birch panels, Schmidt now layers her oils on “grade C” construction outdoor plywood. The textured, earthy energy to this material speaks to “a theme of destruction, but also hope for something positive.” The idea of earth at some basic level impacts her intuitive process: “Sometimes I start with the drips,” she says, providing “an example of an early process underneath.”

For Bushwick Open Studios 2014, Schmidt will be opening up her studio to visitors. Schmidt’s Bushwick space, where she both works and exhibits, is surrounded by other artists and small businesses. “The couple next to me makes jeans, so I hear their sewing machine going,” she says. About Bushwick, she adds, “I just find it has a really great energy.”

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Schmidt’s studio is located at 44 Stewart Avenue #20 and will be open today from 12—7PM; her work may also be seen as part of a group show at Brooklyn Brush Studio, located at 203 Harrison Place, Room 336 

Where Depth Becomes Time: Paintings by Linda Kamille Schmidt

by Michael Sanderson

image

Schmidt’s work combines geometric and organic forms; photos by Michael Sanderson

Linda Kamille Schmidt’s paintings work with layers where depth becomes time. Schmidt talked about her process of creating her colorful organic and geometric elements on wood (oil on panel) in her studio on Stewart Avenue. First, “building things up and then see how it’s going, and work it to the point where it’s kind of out of control,” she says, “and then I sand back kind of like I’m digging back into the past.” Sanding paint off the wood to reveal previous layers is a process Schmidt compares to a kind of archaeology, wherein previous layers are excavated and then rebuilt.

image

Linda Kamille Schmidt in her Bushwick studio

In addition to forms and patterns, Schmidt also has a special connection to the translucent red found in her paintings. “When I was little, a friend of mine gave me a plastic party hat that was red,” she said. At five years of age, Schmidt would carry her fascination with that color to today. Originally from Kansas, Schmidt received her MA and MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Iowa and has lived in New York City for 24 years. Though she had not planned on staying, Schmidt met her future husband and plans changed. 

For Schmidt, the interplay of the past and the present through the layers of her work becomes very metaphorical. Looking at her exposed past work, she notes, “I’ll paint things on top to hide them, like I don’t want to remember that, that’s too horrifying,” Schmidt adds how, for some works, “it isn’t working [so] I get rid of it,” and “some are transparent, where you can kind of have the past and the underlying layers reforming and reinterpreting the lower layers.”

Oil on panels is not the only medium where this process plays out. “I work on Mylar a lot,” Schmidt says, tugging a translucent sheet off the wall. “I feel like I can cheat a little bit. It’s transparent—I can paint on the back and it goes into the past.” She said both sides of the Mylar can be exhibited, changing the piece based on the viewer’s position. “The backgrounds, they kind of change,” she said. In that way, whatever is on top can prompt a reinterpretation of the history that had been previously laid down.

Once preferring the refinement of custom-made expensive birch panels, Schmidt now layers her oils on “grade C” construction outdoor plywood. The textured, earthy energy to this material speaks to “a theme of destruction, but also hope for something positive.” The idea of earth at some basic level impacts her intuitive process: “Sometimes I start with the drips,” she says, providing “an example of an early process underneath.”

For Bushwick Open Studios 2014, Schmidt will be opening up her studio to visitors. Schmidt’s Bushwick space, where she both works and exhibits, is surrounded by other artists and small businesses. “The couple next to me makes jeans, so I hear their sewing machine going,” she says. About Bushwick, she adds, “I just find it has a really great energy.”

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Schmidt’s studio is located at 44 Stewart Avenue #20 and will be open today from 12—7PM; her work may also be seen as part of a group show at Brooklyn Brush Studio, located at 203 Harrison Place, Room 336 

Your #BOS2014 Sunday Guide: Studios and Events

 

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Forget about your lazy Sunday because it is the last day of #BushwickOpenStudios and whether you visited three or three hundred studios yesterday, there is still so much to do!

UPDATE: The cherry on this sundae called #BOS2014 provides sweet reward to close out this weekend’s revelry, starting at 5PM at Bizarre.

  • Give your legs a break and further indulge your imagination with CinemaSunday, a film and video showcase. Then get ready to celebrate another great year at the BOS 2014 Closing Party!!!

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Keep your eyes on the Blog. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter + Instagram for a live feed of everything #BOS. Join the conversation about #BushwickOpenStudios and #BOS2014 and let us know where the good stuff is @artsinbushwick!

Your #BOS2014 Saturday Night Guide: Openings, Shows, and Parties

by Willow Goldstein

What an amazing first full day of #bushwickopenstudios! For those of you studio-bound or simply late to the sunshine, not to fret, the Blog has you covered with some killer events starting now and going late!

  • Silent Barn is holding an all day tribute show for musician Christo Buffam. The event goes late and includes over a dozen bands so swing by!
  • The official Performance Art Showcase of BOS, Being Bushwick, is taking place right now at 195 Morgan Ave. The showcase will present a dialogue ­inducing body of work by local artists that speaks to the idea of Bushwick’s past, present, and imagined future.
  • The opening for Inhabiting Ten Eyck is tonight, 7-10pm, marking the one-year anniversary of Storefront Ten Eyck with an expansive show of fourteen artists!
  • Unit 405’s Greenhouse Disco Ball starts at 9pm and whether you go to nibble on hydroponically grown herbs and greens or dance til the wee hours, they’ve got you covered!
  • All day and night, the Jeffersonian 2014 invites you to explore rooftop installation, projection, multimedia sculpture, and live performance against the skyline of NYC.
  • Brooklyn Wildlife is throwing a mandatory short shorts dance party in celebration of their Nude Weekend starting at 9pm, with music, DJs, burlesque, and more. 
  • The BOS Electronic Music Showcase takes place tonight at Bizarre. Dance the night away to underground beats, experimental sound, and project art at this late night event!

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Keep your eyes on the Blog as we will be posting our top studio, gallery, and event picks daily. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter + Instagram for a live feed of everything #BOS. Join the conversation about #BushwickOpenStudios and #BOS2014 and let us know where the good stuff is @artsinbushwick!

Your #BOS2014 Saturday Night Guide: Openings, Shows, and Parties

by Willow Goldstein

What an amazing first full day of #bushwickopenstudios! For those of you studio-bound or simply late to the sunshine, not to fret, the Blog has you covered with some killer events starting now and going late!

  • Silent Barn is holding an all day tribute show for musician Christo Buffam. The event goes late and includes over a dozen bands so swing by!
  • The official Performance Art Showcase of BOS, Being Bushwick, is taking place right now at 195 Morgan Ave. The showcase will present a dialogue ­inducing body of work by local artists that speaks to the idea of Bushwick’s past, present, and imagined future.
  • The opening for Inhabiting Ten Eyck is tonight, 7-10pm, marking the one-year anniversary of Storefront Ten Eyck with an expansive show of fourteen artists!
  • Unit 405’s Greenhouse Disco Ball starts at 9pm and whether you go to nibble on hydroponically grown herbs and greens or dance til the wee hours, they’ve got you covered!
  • All day and night, the Jeffersonian 2014 invites you to explore rooftop installation, projection, multimedia sculpture, and live performance against the skyline of NYC.
  • Brooklyn Wildlife is throwing a mandatory short shorts dance party in celebration of their Nude Weekend starting at 9pm, with music, DJs, burlesque, and more. 
  • The BOS Electronic Music Showcase takes place tonight at Bizarre. Dance the night away to underground beats, experimental sound, and project art at this late night event!

### 

Keep your eyes on the Blog as we will be posting our top studio, gallery, and event picks daily. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter + Instagram for a live feed of everything #BOS. Join the conversation about #BushwickOpenStudios and #BOS2014 and let us know where the good stuff is @artsinbushwick!

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