Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Casey Roberts: Lingerer, November 6th - 28th, 2020


We are pleased to present Lingerer, Casey Roberts's fourth solo exhibition with Dianna Witte Gallery. 

Casey Roberts's paintings are dark, yet humorous, animals play a leading role, and the work blends together to form a narrative. There's a moral of the story, one that hints at humans' relationship with nature with a knowing wink. In this way, the work is synonymous with a fairytale.

Owls, rabbits, the rare white buffalo, and whales are stand-ins for humans in Roberts's paintings; the tension and collaboration between man and nature is a repeated trope throughout Roberts's career--a trope that is mirrored in the photochemical process that is used to procure the paintings. The elaborate process, known as the cyanotype, depends on sunlight's reaction (nature) with chemicals, such as baking soda, peroxide, and bleach, (man) to create vibrant shades of cyan blue.

Casey's way of creating a painting is precarious: the process is akin to printmaking, using chemicals and light opposed to carving. The paintings are built up of layers; Roberts stencils off portions and exposes the paper to light, repeating this process until the painting is complete. He often finishes the paintings with elements of watercolour or collage, and leaves evidence of the process--an integral part of the work--with the holes used to pin the paper to the wall framing the exterior. A wrong move late in the process renders the work void and Roberts is forced to start over. The high stakes of the creative process imbue the paintings with a tension that is opposite to the balanced calm of the composition, creating work ripe with complexity.

In Roberts's drawings there are elements of abstraction and self-referential nods scattered throughout the realism. Patterns are found on tabletops, trees, and vases, resulting in unexpected texture and humour. Turn off the lights and the moon floating over the owl glows in the dark. The care and detail Roberts places in his fantastical tableaus seem to have no bounds, allowing the viewer to fall inside and live in his unique world.

Roberts received his degree from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, IN. In September of 2019 he exhibited a solo show at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center at Depauw University. He has work in numerous collections, including the Indiana State Museum, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the US Department of State, Eli Lilly, Indiana University and more. Roberts lives and works in Indianapolis, IN.