Nobody will travel further to Casey Burrill’s first solo exhibition than the artist herself.

Based in Geelong, Victoria, Casey lives almost 2000 kilometres from Buderim’s Art Nuvo gallery, which will host Connection from July 19 to August 10.

She has been in group exhibitions over the years but has never before chanced her work on its own.

So, why take such a big step so far away?

“There’s been a real change in the last few years. I’ve got the opportunity to do it and it feels good,” she says.

“It’s only a little show, but I’ve never done it before. It’s quite overwhelming, but it should be fun.

“I think I’ve been through a lot of personal change to being a lot more self-aware this year. Just feeling that change, feeling that it was the right time.”

Art Nuvo has played a role in the creative careers of many emerging and established artists over the years.

After stocking and selling Casey’s work, director Olivia Banks decided it was time for the artist to have an exhibition.

“I hadn’t known that this would be Casey’s first solo exhibition when I asked her, and I was thrilled that we were going to be hosting it in Queensland for her,” she says.

“I see it as a bit of a moment for Art Nuvo, too, to be able to host a first solo exhibition for someone I know has a huge art career ahead of her. Allowing our collectors and new clients first access to the works is such a thrill.”

Casey says the works in Connection have personal meaning and reflect her path from “disconnection” to belonging.

She has been through a period of self-reflection and self-discovery, exploring her past and her influences to put it all together.

“It’s a really productive time for me. Things are back on track. It’s easy for me to paint,” she tells salt.

“I don’t feel disconnected from myself anymore. I feel far more connected.

“This is what that show is about. Connecting the dots and thinking about who I am again, just really redefining it.”

She describes each piece in the exhibition as “moving meditations” and “blueprints” of her past.

Her love of painting and desire to create were embedded in her as a child.

“I cherish all my childhood memories of art, my thought processes,” she says.

“It goes back to my Pa, who was an amazing watercolour artist in Tassie. I used to watch him paint down in Burnie.

“His paintings were very realistic, effortless. The memory is so vivid, even though I was a young age.”

At high school, Casey was the girl who spent every lunch hour in the art room.

“I would buy canvases when I was at high school and offer to paint canvases of people’s homes if I stayed there. There’s also that connection to art that feels like home.”

Abstract art took her interest when she attended an exhibition with a friend.

“We walked into a gallery, and she said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense to me’. She had a very analytical mind,” she says.

“I was like, ‘This is the first time this has really made any sense to me.’

“In my head, I was thinking, ‘Home. Now I feel at home.’”

The birth of Casey’s second daughter released a flood of creativity. She has not stopped since.

“I couldn’t stop painting. I took over the back room and couldn’t stop. It just poured out of me,” she says. “I don’t know where it came from.”

Olivia was originally drawn to Casey’s work through her Instagram platform.

“I initially wanted, of course, to have Casey’s original artworks in the gallery, but she was so busy with supply to galleries that I was happy to start with her limited edition prints on canvas,” she says.

“These are also artwork in themselves with very limited runs and stunning quality. Casey personally hand embellishes the pieces with gold leaf to make each of them even more of a unique art piece.”

Olivia says Casey has “an incredible way to balance abstract with colour, tone and pure joy”, and her work appeals to interior designers for homes and corporate environments.

“In Queensland, we love to have big open space homes with lots of beautiful colour,” she says.

“Sometimes you don’t need to be too bold with colour, but you need to have colours that can also work with  the environment of the home, and that’s where Casey hits the mark.

“Each painting of hers has such a warmth and variety of colour that allows it to sit neatly into the surrounding decor.”

A single mum of three, Casey works full-time as an art teacher, paints at night in her home studio, and practises yoga and meditation, which she believes help her painting.

Her works are big, her brushstrokes bold, and she paints on her feet.

“I don’t like painting small scale. I like to paint large. You can put your whole body into them,” she says.

“I sort of resonate with Jackson Pollock. He said art is ‘energy made visible’, and that resonates with me.

“He would dance around the canvas painting with sticks and that resonates. That feels like my painting.

“It’s the energy in an artist. I want to feel that as much as possible. Energy and flow.”

Casey does not paint when she feels down. It is not a feeling that she wants to shroud her work, or others, or herself.

“I don’t want to use the canvas for that,” she explains.  “It’s not that place.”

“I’m committed to maintaining a positive outlook, particularly in my approach to painting. I like to infuse my work with optimism, hope and reaffirmation. That’s why I strive to uncover the positivity in everything I create. It has been a really hard few years, but I don’t embody that in my painting because my paintings are my hope, my salvation.

“Painting feels like a safe place for me. I’ve got to make good memories with it.

“It feels too good to put that sort of energy into it.”

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