EARTH, PEOPLE, PEACE: Casey brings expressive exhibit to JCA

Published 9:24 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

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A pensive Mary Ann Casey was slow to respond, almost hesitant.

How could she explain the feelings, the emotions, the substance of her exhibit at the Johnson Center for the Arts? How would others understand?

“Love Earth, People … Equals Peace.”

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Perhaps, Casey said, the title of her exhibition that opened Wednesday at the Johnson Center would provide a glimpse into the heart of her artwork that is not what many local patrons would expect from the Auburn artist who is attached to Troy by her heartstrings. Perhaps the title would explain. Maybe.

In the pursuit of understanding, pure expression is born, said Casey, whose images are infused with love, encouragement and understanding. Even in abstract?

“Especially, in abstract,” she said. “Abstract is much of what I do now. Abstraction allows us to see in our minds what we cannot see with our eyes.”

For Casey, art is a journey, “a fantastic, incredible journey.” A journey that, she said, takes different roads with many twists and turns. But the roads always lead somewhere. And, through art, Casey is able to share the wonder and wisdom she has garnered along the way.

“Abstract art allows us to experience the world in a different way,” she said. “It enables us to cut through all the clutter of life and dance and play. It enables us to get to the essence and energy that comes from a burst of color and from the shapes and the movement that they create.”

Casey’s “Love Earth, People … Equals Peace” fills all three galleries on the JCA’s upper level. The Gibson Family Gallery features both abstract and representational pieces. The representations of rural cultures are vintage Mary Ann Casey but the abstracts enable viewers to experience a different side of the artist.

“Mary Ann lived in Troy for several years, so many in the area are familiar with her art,” said Brenda Campbell, JCA director. “However, her ‘Love Earth, People …. Equals Peace’ exhibition, showcases a change in direction.”

Campbell said the exhibit at the Johnson Center is an eclectic combination of Casey’s traditional style along with three collections of abstract paintings in which she uses lines, colors and patterns to invite viewers to make their own interpretations.

Casey’s artwork in the Gibson Family Gallery showcases representational pieces and both black and white and color abstracts. The Tile Gallery features black and white abstracts. The abstracts are large, up to 50×73 inches.

“I love the freedom larger canvases offer and the energy they can bring to a room,” Casey said. “I can feel the energy in those two galleries. I can feel the energy of this earth and of the people. I feel energized and filled with hope.”

And nowhere is that hope more evident in Casey’s work than in the abstracts in the Kirk Gallery that burst with springtime.

“Spring is the time when we embrace hope and love,” Casey said. “The message of spring is that there is hope in a world that is too often filled with hopelessness.

“If we could all love each other and love the earth then we would have peace, not illnesses and terrorism. If we would just realize that we are all alike; we breathe the same air and have the same emotions.

“If we would just accept that we are one and have genuine love for each other and earthly love, love for Mother Earth, then there would be peace. Don’t we know that we have wings and that we can fly. If we would turn loose and fly over all the crap that inhabits the earth, there would be love and unity on the earth. And, we could dance together. We have got to dance together.” 

Wiley White, JCA exhibition coordinator, said there have already been many positive responses to Casey’s exhibit.

“People who know Mary Ann know how much fun she is and how insightful she is. This ‘Love Earth, People … Equals Peace’ exhibit is truly a glimpse into her heart and soul.”

White said the public is invited to view Casey’s work from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and until 3 p.m. on Saturday from now until April 11.

“We also invited the public to attend the artist’s reception from 6 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 19,” White said. “At the reception, Mary Ann will give her artist talk that will be fun, insightful and informative.”