Alice Case creates kaleidoscopic alternate realities
Alice Case’s paintings suggest an alternate reality. Inspired by physics and the possibility of multiple dimensions, she plays with layered, geometric shapes, and vivid hues to construct imaginative dreamscapes. Alice is interested in the social and cultural climate of today’s world, paralleling the chaotic inundation of information in our everyday lives in her kaleidoscopic patterns and compositions.
Alice received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Washington and a BFA in Painting & Drawing and Sculpture from Louisiana State University. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions across the United States and participated in the StudioWorks Artist Residency at the Tides Institute in Eastport in 2014.
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
I am interested in creating socially engaging paintings that reflect a sense of our current moment in time, while also imagining alternate possibilities to our reality. My work is heavily influenced by physics, namely the possibility of alternate dimensions, and a belief that there is more to our reality than what we can see or process with the human brain. I use my work to create colliding worlds and dimensions that relate to both physics and everyday life and I search to articulate what it feels like to exist in this age of inundating information. Lately my most recent work is about processing the struggle and sadness pervasive in the world today, both in the United States and abroad. I work with what I perceive to be the most prevalent feelings of our current emotional climate – anxiety, hope, fear, and possibility, to name a few.
How did you first get interested in your medium, and what draws you to it specifically?
Everyone draws growing up and I found that as I got older I could escape into a 2D world for hours on end. This served me well, especially through troubling times. I pursued both painting and sculpture in college (and loved both) but ultimately found that I could say more with the language of paint, and that I can better investigate notions of reality and existence through the medium. I also appreciate that painting is never in stasis, it never feels static to me. It is always simultaneously coming and going, becoming and unbecoming as you spend time with it – like life. Lately, I am beginning to play with combining painting and video. We’ll see where that goes.
How has your style and practice changed over the years?
Well, as with most students the focus begins with working representationally, learning form, proportion, the basics. I still enjoy working from life as an investigative practice, but as I reached the end of grad school in my mid twenties I found that I was more interested in finding a reality that exists beyond the visible, and that this could only be done through abstraction. I worked purely abstract for a time, but have begun to combine abstraction with “realistic representation” and pattern. This feels more akin to how we experience the world than purely one or the other.
Can you walk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just jump in? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it is finished?
I really don’t have a set method that I use to begin each piece. I go between painting, drawing, and collage pretty regularly, but I don’t really use one as a “study” for another. Each piece exists in itself, though the ideas circulate amongst them. I tend to start each painting with a loose idea of the type of space I want to create, and possibly a sense of the emotional space as well, but it really is a lot of figuring it out as I go. I’ll sketch as I go to help me solve particular areas of a painting, especially if it involves pattern or shape, but I’m more of a “dive right in” type of painter. I lose interest and focus if I spend too much time planning.
The pieces take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple years; each one is different. It’s done when there’s nothing else I want to change and it’s saying something I can’t put into words. I will add however that it’s not uncommon for me to revisit paintings that I finished years ago and make changes, especially as my work has changed a good bit over the last few years, and continues to move forward as I’m settling in to what feels to be my niche.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Figure out how to allow your intuition and instinct to take over. Not your brain.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I start my day in silence as I sit and develop a plan for what I’m trying to accomplish in the work. Once I’ve got a plan I seldom work in silence. Primarily I listen to podcasts (Art, Science, Radiolab, This American Life, short fiction, almost anything really). Sometimes world news like BBC or Aljazeera. But I love rocking out to great music when I’m in the right zone.