Elevating Urban Scenes: Artist Amy Casey

Cleveland artist Amy Casey and her high-flying city scenes have been attracting quite a bit of attention.

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Casey, a 33-year-old graduate of the Cleveland Institute for the Arts, was recently named the recipient of the Cleveland Arts Prize’s Emerging Artist Award and a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

Her work is on display this month at Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland‘s “There Goes the Neighborhood” exhibit.

She was featured last week for Scene Magazine.

Casey at work

Casey at work

Scene had this to say in the story: Her latest series of acrylic-on-paper paintings depicting airborne factories and houses tugged aloft by weblike hawsers, or sky-high stacks of factories, studded with traffic barrels and swathed in crusty roads or bolts of stockade fencing, strike chords that just about any contemporary America city dweller can hear.

Specifically, she plays with the rustbelt’s 21st-century, curbside mess of neglected infrastructure, dumped in front of a dilapidated housing market. This could be depressing subject matter, but in her hands, pollution and decay take on an air of quiet delight, as in a fairy tale gone awry — or not so awry, since fairy tales tend to be horrifying. Giants and evil queens — the powers that make bad things happen — aren’t included in the stories she tells, but they’re not far away. Just beyond the edges of the paper something has undone the world she paints and is beginning to tug the chaos away, toward the nothingness beyond the frame. There’s also the possibility that such unseen forces are benevolent, engaged in a whimsical urban-renewal project.

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It’s pretty great, isn’t it?

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