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Casebeer's "Everything Is Fine Here" Is a Collection of Family Secrets at Tilt Gallery in Scottsdale

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The 23-piece collection is on display through the end of April. The work features Casebeer's signature style of collage and collaboration, with pieces using wooden crates, canvas, found images, and painted words. Some of these pages -- like the French magazine about science from the 1950s -- she has been collecting, largely subconsciously, for more than five years. "It's random," she says, "but it's not all random. In a way it's a lifetime project."

The series is based on a non-fiction novel she's still working on, one she admits has taken awhile but promises to finish, even if she's not sure when. She describes the resulting artwork as an outline in visual form.

"I think all the painting I've done over the years has been that, because it's always a narrative of some sort, but this is the tightest narrative in that it's actually with the book," she says. "Each one isn't just its own, they're all part of the story."

Art and storytelling have always been intertwined for Casebeer. Having earned a degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where she grew up, she was a writer of short stories for years before transitioning to painting and collage as her focus, making a definitive mark on the Valley art scene. Now she's trying to find an artistic equilibrium between the two by marrying both sides in this newest mixed-media show.

"For me, one thing goes with the other, and leads to the other and helps the other," she says. "In my case, it sort of takes all these forms to make what it is I do. I've had periods of strict collage or strict painting or strict writing, all of which have their moments, but there's something about me [and] the chaos of my mind that has to stick them all together. And the closer I stick them all together, the more authentic I feel about the entirety of it."

The book is based on a true story, one she heard through the familial grapevine years ago, the same story her father's letters quietly brushed over. Her grandfather was in a car accident in 1957. He survived, but two women -- naked -- who were with him died.

"I've been dealing in the shadow that leaves. Thinking of it as a 'Big Bang' in its own regard," she says. She goes on to describe the details of the main image, gesturing at the focal points with her hand. First, the car -- a hearse, then the underlying, assumed mantra -- "everything is fine," and finally the desire to ignore both the catalyst and its consequences.

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Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard