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Peter Cusack Solo Exhibition
April 1, 2021 @ 8:00 am - May 24, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
In his current paintings, Peter Cusack explores themes of human identity, sexuality, consciousness, and crisis, illuminating the hidden psychological realities of everyday life. Heroic male and female figures live their lives beyond the view of ordinary society, revealing interior monologues of desire, longing, rejection, ambiguity, fear, and despair – but without shame, inhibition, or the need to conceal. Cusack’s emotional insight, technical skill, and freedom from convention make these revelations possible. His subjects are intriguing and deeply complex; the roles and rituals they portray can be recognized from our shared experiences. The echoes of the art of past centuries enrich his imagery, but these representations appear fresh, spontaneous, and honest. His hand is confident and his intuitions are sound. Cusack never starts with a preliminary drawing for either his watercolors or oils, which give his work immediacy, vitality and transparency. Every impulse in his process becomes a visible record; beginning with a few quick strokes, he allows hands-on use of the materials and his own compulsion to move the process forward. Large oil paintings, diptychs, and triptychs are his favored formats, in part for their associations with the Church and their place in art history, the study of which eventually led Cusack to painting. The divisions also have a practical function because he conceives each panel not only as part of the whole but also a complete work of art in itself. Delegating his figures to a separate field but with multiple correspondences, this pictorial scheme permits him to isolate their individual psychology in a more focused way, which amplifies, clarifies and enriches their interactions. Even the watercolor of a mundane subject may convey dark overtones and resonances, yet nothing looks overworked or contrived. Producing watercolors as an ongoing record of everyday events in and around a country house, his style is fast and loose using a palette based on primary colors, with splashes of deep purple, dark green, or black. Chopping garlic, napping with the dog, a table set up for a dinner party, a glimpse of the house from afar: they all convey the essence of a fleeting moment in a life well-lived. In spite of Cusack’s vague or ambiguous titles, the characters in his dramas come across as real people in real situations, and it is the strength and resonances of Cusack’s images that makes a narrative possible for the viewer to construct. His subjects, their imposing and memorable presence, are realized with unstrained effort through the use of form and color alone.