Born on Friday the 13th in 1964 in Salem, Massachusetts, John Casey has been inventing creatures as soon as he was able to hold a crayon. Drawings that his mother saved from when he was only three years old reveal an obsession with the figure. The figures in these drawings show not only the distorted perceptions of a child, but a fascination with skulls, teeth, spirographic eyes, and invented body parts. This obsession with strange creatures continued throughout his youth. "Monster models, war dioramas, dinosaurs, and horror movies on the T.V. [this included "Creature Double Feature" on Saturday afternoons, of course] occupied much of my time."
John graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1988 with a BFA in Painting. Several years ago he relocated to Oakland, California with his lovely wife Mary. His work has been exhibited at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, and Bay Area venues such as 111 Minna Gallery, National Product, Low Gallery, Red Ink Studios, 33 Grand, Boontling Gallery.
John Casey is obsessed with fictitious human morphology, which he explores in his sculptures and ink drawings. At first glance, Casey's small-scale sculpture and detailed line drawings seem to portray a menagerie of deformed creatures. A collective analysis reveals this array of oddball creations to be a series of psychological studies self-portraits of the artist's inner psyche in all of its multifaceted incarnations. Some sad, some horrific, and some whimsical, these characters evoke responses from laughter and sympathy to disgust and discomfort. While one might call Casey's work the exorcising of inner demons, his creations inspire more empathy than they do loathing. By depicting the grotesque as pitiable, John Casey illuminates the darkest corners of the mind, seeking redemption for all of us.
"My creatures are called monsters by some, but I often feel that the connotations associated with 'monster' don't always apply to these little guys unless one can add descriptors like 'vulnerable' and 'fragile' to the definition of monster. Maybe I have issue with the monster moniker because I see my critters as self-portraits. Nick Capasso, director of the DeCordova Museum, once referred to my work as 'little exorcisms' and I like that description. The idea that I expel my inner demons in the form of drawn, painted, or sculpted critters appeals to me."
EDUCATION 1988 B.F.A. (Honors), Massachusetts College of Art
SELECTED SOLO/TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS 2009 Distant Cousins, Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA 2009 No One We Know, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA 2008 Picket Fencing, Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA 2008 New Works, TAG Art Gallery, Nashville, TN 2007 Strange Fruit: Bad Seeds, Receiver Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2007 Metamorphosis Chamber, FPAC Gallery, Boston, MA 2007 New Works, TAG Art Gallery, Nashville, TN 2006 Headache, Boontling Gallery, Oakland, CA 2006 Along Came a Spider, 33 Grand, Oakland, Oakland, CA 2005 Creature Double Feature, National Product, San Francisco, CA 2005 Unusual Suspects, Cricket Engine Gallery, Oakland, CA
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2008 Bay Area Currents, Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA 2008 No Brow, Black Maria Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2008 Diverse Chorus, Neurotitan Gallery, Berlin, Germany 2008 FasTrak A bridge and Tunnel Survey, Lobot Gallery, Oakland, CA 2007 The Diane and Sandy Besser Collection, de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA 2007 Immigrant Punk, Black Maria Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2007 Banai/Godzilla, SFMOMA Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2007 Free Parking, OKOK Gallery, Seattle, WA 2007 Graphic: New Bay Area Drawing, di Rosa Preserve, Napa, CA 2006 I Think We Better Split Up, Receiver, San Francisco, CA 2006 Boontling Allstars, Boontling Gallery, Oakland, CA 2006 666, Blankspace Gallery, Oakland, CA 2001 Terrors and Wonders: Monsters in Contemporary Art, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
PUBLICATIONS John Casey, Scarecrow, Published by Rowan Morrison, Oakland, CA The Upset: Young Contemporary Art, Published by Gestalten, Berlin, Germany Pen to Paper, Published by Pictoplasma, Berlin, Germany
PRESS Jeremy Pruitt, The Lumper, Interview, August 08 Hikaru Hayashi, Sophistry, Interview, July 08 Jolijn Snijders, ILOVEFAKE Magazine, Interview ,June 08 Sofia Garza-Barba, Indigo Magazine, Interview, June 08 Meighan OToole, My Love For You, Interview, May 08 Libby Nicholaou, Libbys Niche, Interview, May 08 Chuck Banaszewski, Spragraphic Interview, December 07 Pam Grady, Tradition, Anime Mesh in U.S. Art, July 07 Ert Ohara, Headache, Juxtapoz, April 06 David Downs, Headache, East Bay Express, April 06 John Trippe, Along Came a Spider, San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 06 Matt Petty, Along Came a Spider, San Francisco Chronicle, February 06 Gallery Crawl, Along Came a Spider, KQED Podcast, February 06 Sharon Mizota, Toys Take No Prisoners, SF Weekly, September 05
COLLECTIONS de Young Museum di Rosa Preserve Diane and Sandy Besser Collection ,