Still lifes with an edgy wit
This story was featured in the August 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art August 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art August 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Origami dragons face off. A cola bottle appears to watch the power struggle. A lock on a string dangles over the skirmish as if it were a referee. Welcome to the imaginary world of Daniel Mark Cassity, where still-life paintings are populated by objects and scenes that mimic human encounters. According to Cassity, he selects the objects for their symbolism as well as their aesthetic contributions to the tableaux. “I attempt to produce pieces with an intellectual density and richness that is sometimes belied by the initial whimsical impact,” Cassity says. “In fact, there is often a sad or dark undertone to the obvious humor.”
KEYS TO THE KINGDOM is part of the artist’s ongoing series of works created around the “kingdom” theme. The painting was recently on view in the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition at InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX. This month another work from the series, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, is showcased in OPA’s Salon Show at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, MI.
Cassity recalls that he completed his first “formal” painting, an acrylic landscape, when he was 7 years old. At age 12 he began receiving private art instruction, and the budding young artist eventually went on to earn a degree in studio art from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. For a brief time Cassity considered a career in teaching, but his interest waned and he eventually dropped out of graduate school to pursue a career as a fine artist.
A hallmark of a Cassity painting is its soft realism; the artist eliminates visible brushstrokes by using stipple brushes. He also glazes, rubs, and scumbles, among other techniques, to produce the subtle texture he desires. “For the viewer who looks solely for virtuosity of paint manipulation, I strive to deliver that at the highest level,” Cassity says. “For those who seek content beyond the painted surface, I strive to reward them as well.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Artifacts Gallery, Eureka Springs, AR; Taylor’s Contemporanea Salon of Fine Art, Hot Springs, AR.
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