Monday, October 11, 2010

Amy Casey

This print just came in the mail today. It’s by Amy Casey, “the most talked about Cleveland artist of her generation” according to Scene magazine. She and I both had a residency this summer (Thanks, Ohio Arts Council!) at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass.  Not that we saw much of each other--she works best during the wee hours and I work best in the post-wee hours. In other words, she was going to bed as I was getting up.
But I saw enough of her work to become intrigued. Her concern (the housing crisis in Cleveland) is also my concern, because my father still lives there. And I was also struck by how similarly we have been processing our unsettled-ness about the subject in general. This is from her artist’s statement:
For about eight years I've been experiencing a sporadically recurring dream about the end of the world. Animals stampeding and building falling into dust around me. ... My paintings reflect my view of the nervous state of affairs the world seems to be in. Inspired by natural and unnatural disasters, personal fiascos and the neverending stream of bad news from the media, the world inside my paintings has been turned (sometimes literally) upside down. The ground has crumbled underneath them and the sky is falling. In the wake of this, my created world bands together to come up with coping plans.
And this is the opening paragraph of my book-in-progress:
The subprime loan market has tanked. All day long the media bleats out words like meltdown, fallout, and crisis. Because the housing market appears so uncertain, Sam and I have abandoned any thought of buying a condo, or maybe a ranch-style house, and have settled into an apartment on the west side of Columbus. It seems possible, though, that we are both too old and set in our ways to live comfortably with someone else in such a small space. He snipes at me about filling our squat little apartment-sized refrigerator with what he calls “unnecessary backups.” An extra quart of milk. Dijon and regular yellow mustard. Thirty-two ounces—a three year supply, goddamit—of minced garlic. I wonder if we really have to have five effing remotes cluttering the coffee table. Some days it feels like every sentence is sharpened to a point. But the one thing we do agree on is that we like the quantity of light that fills our apartment, something you can’t take for granted in this gloomy city.

Visit Amy at

P.S. Check out her blog post "11:30 pm -- lets pretend its August." (As an English teacher I must point out to her that it's: "As do the paper towels.")

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