Melissa Casey: New Work: In collaboration with Kopeikin Gallery
“Her rhythmic and repetitious use of lines embody threads of thought and formal concerns that may be traced to the watercolor studies and textiles of Anni Albers and the meditative fine lines of Agnes Martin.”
Melissa Casey’s most recent acrylic paintings on paper are studies of geometry and color as well as contemplative spaces that take us beyond our immediate reality. Like the early studies of Anni Albers, Casey’s work is preoccupied with gradation and layering, where basic hues are multiplied by the addition of color on top of an overall wash to create varying levels of translucency and opacity that animate the surface of the paintings. This process is also reminiscent of the supplementary weft technique Albers used in her more complex weavings. This ancient procedure involves producing a tapestry in two overlaid planes; a ground weave that operates as a foundation on top of which the weaver may “paint” independent motifs with additional weft. And much like weaving, Casey’s work is born from duplicating actions and maintaining patterns. It is a process that can be compared to transcendental meditation in that both employ a discipline of repetition to achieve clarity and revelation. Her commitment to seriality and the use of the stripe as her primary compositional feature reinforce this quality.
Similar to the serene and commanding grids of Agnes Martin, Casey’s linear geometry invites viewers to an introspective state. Her spare yet distinctive compositions; the subtle articulation of color and light; the obsessive and breathtaking clarity of form, work in tandem to evoke awareness and pure feeling. In a fashion similar to Robert Irwin, at times, Casey constructs areas of intense vibration through disruptions in color and the direction of her lines. These technical gestures read much like musical flourishes or a change in conversation. They deepen the emotional resonance of the work by producing energetic shifts that manipulate our perception and our overall experience of seeing and being.
Melissa Casey received her MFA in Art & Painting from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena in 1996. Her thesis and thesis show committee included Mike Kelley, Lita Albuquerque, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, and Patti Podesta. She lives and works in Los Angeles.