Visual Arts

Arty Girl: Simon Casson at Bentley Gallery

By Lilia Menconi

Anticipation of the Thesmophoria by Simon Casson.

In this postmodern world, we just can’t seem to keep our grubby paws off of other people’s ideas. Having surrendered to the concept that there is no longer a purely original thought, we’ve embraced a creative zone of spring boarding and ping-ponging off one another’s concepts and creations.

British artist Simon Casson is no exception.

Casson attended the Royal Academy of London and is a highly acclaimed painter having received the Daley Rowney Award for Innovation from the Mall Galleries and the Royal Academy Medal for Painting and the Creswick Prize for Landscape Painting from the Royal Academy Schools in London.

Casson creates paintings based on Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces. With a focus on Greek mythological figures, Casson recreates a master’s work and then strips the canvas of its paint, deconstructing the image and the myth.

The works are certainly appealing to a mass audience. An image of a partially naked woman with crumpled drapery covering her mommy parts is something easy to latch onto. It’s a picture well embedded in the visual language of the Western world.

But Casson urges his audience to question this imagery. The physical evidence of his actions on the canvas – the scrapes and scratches that remove the surface’s paint – reveals the transitory nature of the work. The story is now a mere piece of outdated history – not an explanation of the world’s quirks as it was once meant to be.

And as for the painting itself, Casson abstracts it to such a degree that a viewer won’t be able to mentally step into it and poke around. With the canvas’s weave exposed, there’s a constant reminder that this is “object”. It’s not some separate place for your consciousness to wander through.

“Thesmophoria” by Simon Casson at Bentley Gallery is open until October 31st at Bentley Gallery, 4161 N. Marshall Way in Scottsdale. Call 480-946-6060 or visit

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi