Words by By Anetta Nowosielska
Using cards normally associated with mystery and mysticism, Miami artist Autumn Casey reveals her rawest and most personal emotions. Elysian Fields could easily be Autumn Casey’s artistic opus. The visual narrative, now included in the permanent collection of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, offers an emotional peek at the connection between the artist’s Alzheimer’s-ridden grandmother and the music of her youth. The video movingly portrays how the former showgirl is magically transported out of the disease’s darkness into brief moments of clarity and bliss. “Frank Sinatra calms her down,” explains Casey. “I couldn’t be happier that my nana is immortalized in this piece for others to contemplate about life.”
Reflecting on life is a common theme for the Miami-raised conceptual artist, whose oeuvre includes collage, sculpture and video. Casey’s ability to tap into larger consciousness has already won her some impressive accolades. She was awarded the top prize at Optic Nerve XII, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami’s annual short video contest, for a film titled “Getting Rid of All My Shoes”, in which Casey seemingly sheds layers of herself by removing the frivolity of superfluous objects.
Similarly, her tarot card collection, which is a major component of a new solo exhibition at Primary Projects titled “Balancing Infinity, While Hanging Upside Down. Watching Lovers Fall From Grace, Underneath the Ground”, masterfully plays with our collective zeitgeist. The assemblage spans three years of deeply personal work that translates private mundane moments into shared revelations.
“Each piece means something to me,” says Casey, “and even though I have gone back to tweak some pieces that needed extra work, these are very true to what was happening in my life and are now connecting me to something entirely different.”
These are the kinds of emotive experiences Primary Projects co-founder Books Bischof is betting on. “It’s rare to represent an artist who can evoke so much emotion in people,” he explains. “We exhibited Autumn’s work a couple of years ago, and that debut solo show, AGALMA, was a celebration of nostalgia built out of relics from her childhood, which included, among other things, items from her nana’s kitchen.” This time around, the artist will use the aforementioned tarot cards, sculptures and videos to focus on the power of reflection to overcome crushing life experiences. As Casey herself puts it: “I’m using objects I’ve lived with for years that I’ve converted into artifacts that tell a bigger story.” Art doesn’t get more introspective and personal than that.