Mary Ann Casey’s art featured in Shelby County

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 10, 2014

Troy artist Mary Ann Casey will be one of five artists featured at the Shelby County Arts Council’s Fine Folk Art Gallery Opening on Jan. 16.

The Gallery Opening will be from 6 until 8 p.m. at the gallery at 104 Mildred Street in Columbiana.

Along with Casey, other artists will be Maurice Cook and She She Vaughn, who are popular participates at TroyFest in Troy, and Anthony Tavis and Teresa Wamble.

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Bruce Andrews, SCAC executive director, said Teresa Wamble is curator of the Fine Folk Art exhibition.

“This folk art exhibition is unique in that Teresa is a qualified curator for the show,” Andrews said. “Having someone of note in the genre curate the show will qualify the participating artists as some of the best in the region. It will be a great show.”

Casey said that she is honor to have been invited to show her artwork along with four noted folk artists from the Metro-Birmingham area.

“I haven’t thought of myself as a folk artist,” she said. “My artwork is not a part of an academic movement or influence. It’s not surreal but it is so real.”

Casey said that a recent wintertime illness caused her to lose touch with the outside world for a short time.

“During that time, I felt such a strong connection to the social things that are going on and that have gone on,” she said. “I feel such a part of these experiences – something as simple as standing in checkout line or stuck in traffic. Then, on another plane, I feel a strong connection to events such as the Selma march and to those who worked in the cotton mills and those who worked in the fields. It was as if all of the barriers were taken down. I knew that I had to express these and other thoughts and feelings in my art.”

As she creates, Casey said that reality does not have to be connected to her artwork.

“I think that, right now, I’m doing some of the best work I have done because it is so real, not in the sense of reality, but feelings, emotions. That’s what art is. Capturing and eliciting emotions.”

Casey said a woman assemblage that she is working on is a good example.

“Her hair is made from old tires and wire,” she said of the woman. “I’m using a wire lamp shade to look like a clay pot and I’ll fill it with, maybe, fish. The bird in her hair represents the fact that she is one with the earth.”

Casey has been listening to a lot of Muddy Waters’ lately. He inspires and challenges her.

“Muddy Waters speaks to you. It’s easy to understand his feelings, his passion because it is so real,” she said. “I want my art to be so real that it speaks to people. And, that it elicits a response from those who view it. So real. That is what I want my artwork to be.”