Australian artist Patricia Casey works with photography and embroidery to make complex images that explore inner worlds with her series, Little Secrets. Casey believes that we all have an inner core that we do not reveal to even those with whom we are closest. Little secrets that we keep to ourselves. Interior landscapes inaccessible to others. A flow of energy gently vibrates from the surface of each artwork, enticing the viewer to imagine a secret world beneath these dreamlike images. Casey’s work is highly collectible and is currently available for viewing at Stephanie Hoppen Gallery in London and NG Art Gallery in Sydney.
A: Your work deals with themes of memory, dreams and imagination how did this come to be your main inspiration?
PC: I am a consummate daydreamer and have a rich, internal life. I am always looking backwards and forwards along the timeline of my life. Memory requires imagination and there is a certain elasticity that occurs when remembering or re-imagining. There are always different versions of the one event depending on who is telling the story. It is this and the interior world of each of us that interests me, not only in the way our brains remember, but also the sense memory that exists in our bodies.
A:You work in mixed media including photography, embroidery and crochet, how does this influence your work?
PC: I found as an artist working with photography I needed my hand to be more directly involved in the making of my artwork. I have always loved to draw and would often draw over my photographs. I was also taught to hand embroider as a child, so the two have merged to become an expressive drawing methodology on the photographic surface of the work. The embroidery is idiosyncratic drawing marks. I print my images onto fabric and then am able to embroider and crochet onto the surface of my images, giving them another dimension. Lately the crochet has extended to large wire crochet sculptural works and this is also of interest to me.
A:You have exhibited across the world in the United Kingdom, China, France, Korea, Malaysia and America for example. How do people react to your work?
PC: My work has been well received and collected internationally. People love not only the beauty of the images, but also the mystery and ambiguity that underlies my work. The combination of photography with the craft elements is of particular interest to collectors. International blog sites and publications have reviewed my work, which has also increased my exposure. My website and Facebook have connected me to audiences all over the world and it has been gratifying to have such positive feedback.
A: Which artists have influenced your work and do you look to anyone for inspiration?
PC: I love to look at art and have been particularly influenced by artists such as Australians Pat Brassington and Fiona Hall, American Sally Mann, French artists, Annette Messager and Christian Boltanski. Philosophy is also an interest, particularly the postmodernist Roland Barthes and phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Literary fiction has also been a great source of inspiration with Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt amongst my favourite authors.
A:You use images of the natural world in your work, how do you choose you subjects?
PC: My subjects are usually family or friends – people within the orbit of my life. I have three young adult children and while they were growing up they were my models. As they have become older they are less keen and their friends are more willing to take part in my projects. I am looking for a different kind of beauty, not a “Barbie” look or a heavily made up face. There is a certain beauty that is more difficult to define. Occasionally, I will approach a stranger, but usually I work with people who I have some contact with in my life.
A:Where do you see your work going in the future?
PC: I have started a new body of work that is investigating sense memory and this has led me to combine individual landscapes alongside closely cropped portraits to form a narrative. My embroidered mark making is shifting too with threads unraveling and draping over the image plane. I’ve still got lots of research to do and plenty of reading ahead, but the initial works are exciting and I have a little love affair with each new piece of work that I stitch.
Patricia Casey’s work can be see online here: www.patriciacasey.com.au
To see her listing in the Artists’ Directory in Aesthetica Magazine issue 60 pick up a copy at www.aestheticamagazine.com
1.The Outpouring Photography on cotton, embroidery detail 38.6 x 51.5 cms
2. A Half Truth Photography on cotton, embroidery detail 48 x 58 cms