Talking with Casey Gray about Ill RomanticJuxtapoz // Thursday, 08 Jul 2010
You use the phrase “turmoil of the human heart” to describe the symbolism your artwork aims to explore and deconstruct. In thinking about this phrase, how do you personally connect with your work?
The phrase “turmoil of the human heart” refers to the struggle of finding balance and harmony within the complexities of day-to-day life. The imagery I use is all connected and related to my personal experience.
I was once told that the definition of art is the organization of experience, and every day I wake up believing more and more that my artwork is a testament to that.
What kinds of experiences do you draw upon as a source of inspiration for your artwork?
In the last year my work has changed dramatically and has more to do with interpreting the American Dream than anything else. Symbols of success, wealth and romance are ingrained in our minds. Most of the information that builds our sense of direction and moral code as children comes from mass media.
Images of splendor are sold to us as a substitute for experience and its only as we grow up that we realize their exaggeration. My paintings are based off these versions of the so-called truth. They are romantic visions of the American dreamscape.
In works that feature explicit romantic imagery, what sort of critique do you aim to make upon normative presumptions of gender and sexuality in society?
Rather than critique, I am questioning the entire notion of what constitutes “normative presumptions”. It is my understanding that there is no normal when it comes to sex and gender. I don’t feel like there is anything shocking about the sexuality of my work, nor am I trying to be shocking.
I’m interested in the line where masculine and feminine meet. Some of my paintings for the show feature classic archetype male figures such as Gene Kelly, Paul Newman and Fred Astaire. To me they are iconic representations of American splendor. But, when you subvert their remembrance, their meaning becomes something new and that’s where things start to become interesting. I liked horses as a kid. I had a few My Little Ponies. I also had Tonka trucks, dinosaurs and Playboys.
I’m not trying to tell people what to think, nor am I taking any sort of stance one way or the other. I simply want to bring up these issues as a place for social discourse.
To read this full interview head over here.
ILL Romantic: New Works by Casey Gray
White Walls Gallery
Opening: Saturday, July 10th, 2010 from 7-11pm?
Show Runs Through: August 7th, 2010
More info at hwww.whitewallssf.com