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Karen Casey is an Australian interdisciplinary artist who employs a combination of traditional and new media techniques, exploring intersections between the arts, science and society. She has a broad and diverse creative practice spanning printmaking, digital media and public art.
Known for her signature light works and earth-encrusted surfaces Casey’s art resonates with a vibrant intensity that elicits intimate engagement. Drawing on her own indigenous perspective of connection to land, which she unites with a practical and philosophical understanding of the interrelationships between various cultural and spiritual beliefs, along with contemporary western science.
While her works have taken numerous forms, Casey’s thematic interests have focused steadily on the interplay between mind and matter, the tangible and the intangible; referencing both ancient and contemporary modes of thought as she questions and challenges perceived notions of reality, time and space and our collective world view.
In recent years she has experimented with a range of digital technologies, collaborating with arts and non arts professionals working in divergent fields, and giving rise to some unique interactive and generative hybrid art forms. Through this work she aims to cultivate an affirmative ethos and ignite in her audience an awareness of the potential and transformative power of art and the creative mind.
Karen Casey was born and spent her formative years growing up in Hobart and country Tasmania before relocating to Melbourne in the 1980’s. She was later one of a vanguard group of urban Aboriginal artists exhibiting widely in Australia and overseas, with numerous national and international curatorial shows and major touring exhibitions.
Her early figurative paintings and prints were often raw and confrontational commentaries on environmental and social justice issues. Her later works signalled a decisive shift as she adopted a less politicised ideology and more contemplative appreciation of her indigenous heritage and philosophical beliefs, giving rise to images that were deeply rooted in environmental connection.
From the late 1990’s she gradually shifted away from painting to focus on digital media and installation producing major works such as Dreaming Chamber, exhibited in the 3rd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery in 1999. At this time she also entered into the public art domain where she has since worked with architects, urban planners and developers on numerous corporate and public projects, as both collaborative consultant and commissioned artist.
Since her involvement in the design delivery for Reconciliation Place, Canberra in 2001 Casey has worked on various other public projects promoting reconciliation and indigenous culture. She completed a major commission of a three storey permanent artwork installation in Melbourne Docklands in 2003 and was appointed Artist-in-Residence for the City of Melbourne, working with the Urban Design Branch on a number of civic projects.
A passionate collaborator, Casey has worked with a variety of artists and non-art professionals from diverse fields and disciplines. In 2004 she instigated a research project at the Brain Science Institute at Swinburne University, Melbourne and embarked on an ambitious ongoing project with a computer software designer, to develop an interactive interface for creating brainwave generated art. In 2007 she developed Let’s Shake’ a project committed to peace and reconciliation between indigenous and non indigenous peoples.
Casey has been invited to various Australian and overseas residencies and has regularly presented at symposiums, conferences and education institutions. She has been involved in arts curriculum development, contributed towards government arts strategies and in 2008 took part in the Australia 2020 Summit at Parliament House, Canberra. She is credited as making a significant contribution to contemporary Australian art and the Aboriginal art movement through representation in numerous publications, State and National galleries plus public and private collections both in Australia and internationally.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart
Flinders University Gallery, Adelaide
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
State Library of Australia, Sydney
Print Council of Australia, Melbourne
New York Public Library, New York USA
Third Eye Centre, Glasgow UK
Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe USA
1991 Karen Casey: Paintings and Works on Paper, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1997 In Relief: Australian Wood Engravings, Woodcuts and Linocuts, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1996 Journey to the Inner Worlds, Adrian Newstead Gallery, Sydney
1995-1996 Alice Prize, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1994 Urban Focus:Aboriginal Art from the Urban Areas of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1994 Power of the Land: Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1994 Illusions: The Nature of Reality, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1993 The Urban Aboriginal: Four Contemporary Artists from Australia, Jan Weiss Gallery, New York USA and Australian Embassy, Washington DC USA
1993 Aratjara-Kunst der ersten Australier, Kunstammlung, Dusseldorf, Haywood Gallery, London UK, Lousiana Museum, Denmark
1993 Transformation: Interactive Installation, 5th Australian Sculpture Triennial, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1992 Awakenings: Installation and Recent Paintings, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1992 Australian Modernism – The Complexity and Diversity, Lauraine Diggens Fine Art, Melbourne
1992 Crossroads: Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia, The National Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo Japan
1992 New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Australia, Touring Exhibition, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Boston, New York, St. Louis, Portland, Seattle USA
1991 Flash Pictures by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1990 Tagari Lia: My Family – Contemporary Aboriginal Artists of Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow Scotland and UK touring venues
1989 Aboriginal Art – The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1987 Aboriginal Australian Views in Print and Posters, Print Council of Australia, Australian tour and Commonwealth Institute, London UK
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