Jordan Kasey: January 2011

Reprinted from express night out

Interpreting Dreamscapes: Artist Jordan Kasey’s Paintings at Honfleur Gallery

They’re certainly attention-grabbers: Giant hippos drifting through turquoise skies, gleaming musical instruments emerging from a human heart. The otherworldly figures — subjects of large-scale oil paintings by artist Jordan Kasey and on view through Friday at Anacostia’s Honfleur Gallery — burst with color and whimsy. They also represent a milestone for Kasey, a 2007 Maryland Institute College of Art grad: her first solo show in Washington.

Kasey’s youth shines through the bright blue sky of “Hippo,” a painting of a giant black hippopotamus that might seem naive if it didn’t wink so hard at surrealist Rene Magritte.

Kasey moves into more challenging territory with the large-scale portrait “Music Man.” In the nearly 6-foot-tall piece, six glowing faces are lifted in rapture toward a central figure, a man pulling his torso open to expose a giant beating heart intertwined with cymbals, piano keys, tubas and banjos. Kasey says the piece reflects her interest in the intangible and the divine.

“I really like ancient religious art,” she says. “I’m interested in art as a way to get in touch with something huge and un-graspable. My work’s not religious, but I like to reference and reach at that un-graspable thing.”

Kasey says that “Music Man” is a personal favorite because her creative process in making the piece paralelled her overall development as an artist.

“You develop relationships with all of [the artwork], but with ‘Music Man,’ I felt more emotionally close to it,” she says. “The painting went through a lot of changes, and during the process I had several breakthroughs. The theme is opening up — and [based on] where I am in my life, that feels significant.”

» Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Road SE; through Fri., free; 202-536-8994; (Anacostia)

Written by Express contributor Jessica Roake
Photo courtesy of Honfleur Gallery