As you enter the Indy Indie Art Gallery, you come across Cassie Kerns’ text scrawled in longhand: “As long as we create, we’re alive.” On the other side of this structure on which this text is written, you come across a painting “Rescue Mission” which lends a sense of urgency to this written statement and is evidently autobiographical. It’s a starkly rendered mixed media painting showing a nude woman facing forward, her eyes blind-folded, her ankles in chains and her neck in a noose.
Cassie Kerns was a forward on the University of Connecticut basketball team; she earned a painting and photography major at the university in 2010. She works in a variety of media, including diary excerpts, collage, audio installation, painting, and photography.
In the collage work, you see cutouts of characters from children’s books against a variety of found paintings. In “Spirit,” you see a white cutout unicorn like a symbol of power against the backdrop of a found painting that depicts a mountainous landscape. You also see the legs of a girl in bobby socks sticking up from the ground.
Much of this work is raw and unpolished — that of a young artist finding her way — but it there is a sense of seriousness and urgency to all of it. What’s more, the rawness seems utterly necessary. Kerns is channeling the cathartic power of art here to overcome deeply personal trauma.