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Sydney: Patricia Casey


“Everyone has their little secrets,” says Australian photographic artist Patricia Casey. “Sometimes these little secrets are pleasurable, sometimes not, and this series of works is a meditation on that theme.”

In “Little Secrets” Casey has intricately woven landscape and portrait photography with detailed embroidery to create images that are not only physically multi-layered, but also allegorically. Within each frame Casey invokes a world where memory, nature and fantasy reside in a harmonious coming together that invites the viewer to ponder their own secrets, and to drift into the realm of imagination. 

“I am one of those people that are in their heads a lot, I am thinking all the time, and trying to work things out,” she laughs. “This internal investigation, the examination of things that you only know about yourself, the things that define us, that make you who you are…this is what inspires my artistic practice”. 

In creating this collection Casey says she drew inspiration from the French phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, examining the relationship of consciousness and nature through the notion that “when you are in nature you are the trees and the trees are you”.

Casey has a vast collection of photographs of the Australian landscape taken on road trips with her family. “Once I have decided on the landscape image I want to use I then look for the right person to incorporate into that scene,” she explains. “I like to use people I have some kind of knowledge of. My children have modeled for me for most of their lives and they are now separating from me, but their friends are keen to be part of the work. With this series I didn’t want ‘Barbie Doll’ people, I wanted people who were beautiful in a different way, who had a certain vulnerability about them. These photographs are also representations of me in some way…remembering that age, that fresh beauty”.

The images in “Little Secrets” are printed on fabric and then embroidered making each a unique piece of art. “There are a lot of meditative qualities with working with your hands. When you work with photography your hand is quite removed from your art practice, particularly with the switch to digital. I wanted the self to be more inserted into the work and stitching does that. It slows you down”.

In conclusion Casey says her work is constantly evolving. “I am always looking at new ways to express myself. I am not an artist who can keep banging out the same thing. That’s safe and I like to push it a little bit. It is the thrill of experimentation that drives me”.

Little Secrets
March 4 – 22, 2014
NG Art Gallery
3 Little Queen Street
Chippendale (Sydney)

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