Casey Jeffery | spotting the differences

20 June – 6 July 2019





Young Melbourne artist Casey Jeffery’s nostalgic paintings are a celebration of Australian suburbia, transcending the mundane, humble home with psychedelic charm.


This series of paintings is largely a continuation of the stripe paintings – except the squares make up the stripes, the stripes formulate the composition and the colour is a methodical decoy.


Jeffery’s painting practice comprises ultra-smooth, colourful depictions of ornamentation characteristic to the post-war, brick-front houses of Melbourne suburbia, offering a nuanced reading of Australian domestic life. Her carefully planned compositions and unique combination of hard-edge and free-hand painting stripes seemingly common design features of context, elevating them for contemplation.


Having just completed her honours year at VCA, Jeffery’s paintings have shifted focus in subject to the stripe – specifically the familiar striped fabrics of Brella window awnings found on the facades of inner city and suburban homes.


Growing up in outer suburban Melbourne – abundant with European migrant families of the 1950’s – Jeffery recalls this striped canvas with nostalgia, from routine neighbourhood walks with her mother and sister. The Brella blinds became symbolic for Jeffery; of familiarity, of the past, and of her own sense of self.


‘Coming from a lower class neighbourhood, these striped awnings later symbolised to me the familiarity and presence of past and future generations of people in their various socio economic and cultural backgrounds who I lived with and amongst.’


Coincidentally, her grandfather worked manufacturing and adhering the waterproof backing onto these very window awnings following his immigration from Italy to Australia in 1953. Jeffery’s piece Interno (Natale) 2018  was painted in ode to her ‘Nonno’, using one of the patterned fabrics he passed on to her.


The work is highly personal, yet profoundly universal. Jeffery uses the structure and order of the stripe as a way of addressing notions of the past, the personal and the familiar.


Her style of painting convincingly mimics surfaces and materiality, giving the works a tactile and seductive quality whilst maintaining an exceptional smoothness.


Illusions of form and motion are created through her clever use of colour and line, referencing the likes of Bridget Riley and methods of the Italian Futurist painters for their ability to create dynamism within the stillness of painting. Together with considered cropping, the subject is simultaneously highlighted and obscured. Jeffery here is exploring the nature of perception (and deception), and heightening our awareness of the act of looking.


‘The seemingly banal observations of the structures that are built around us, can explain a lot about one’s own identity and what it means to be here geographically in Australia today.’


The fondness in Jeffery’s consideration of suburban vernacular – it’s universality, and it’s peculiarity – invites us to enjoy her works with nostalgia and reflection, all while compelling us to look at ourselves more self-consciously.


Casey Jeffery is a Melbourne based painter who completed her Bachelor of Fine Art (First Class Honours) at The Victorian College of the Arts in 2018. Jeffery has exhibited both locally and internationally. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Seasons, {Suite} Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand (2019). Enter The Fold, LON Gallery (2018). From The Backyard, CAVES Gallery (2018). Her recent group shows include: WestSpace Gallery, Melbourne (2018). C3 Gallery, Melbourne (2018), The Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne (2018). She exhibited with Caves Gallery for the Spring 1883 Art Fair in 2018 and has been the recipient of The John Vickery Scholarship and the Fiona Myer Award. Casey Jefferys works are held in private collections locally and internationally.


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