From Sharne Wolff…
Splashes of navy, blobs of grey, daubs of black and pieces of yellow. Still Life is the latest exhibition of abstract works by artist Michael Cusack. And here’s something to think about: if we told you what these paintings were about, then that’s what you, the viewer, would see. Instead, take a deep breath and simply look. These paintings mean nothing and everything at the same time.
Cusack has been exhibiting for just over a decade and this is his 14th solo show. It encompasses four large mixed media paintings on linen and around twenty smaller works on board. In these pictures, the emphasis is on colour, form and soft shapes and their harmonic arrangement on the surface. The paint is applied in alternating opaque and translucent layers as the artist carefully considers relationships, makes brushstrokes, scuffs and scrapes, and sometimes pares back the finish. Cusack’s brushwork is quite conspicuous so the actual process of painting becomes an essential part of the art. It allows us to imagine the artist thoughtfully applying the paint.
Single word titles such as Avery, Matta, Pinto or Raskin are as abstract as the paintings they describe but are added clues for the viewer. It’s like the artist leaves traces of himself behind and the viewer continues the story.
Until November 11
Martin Browne Contemporary, Paddington
Pic: Michael Cusack, Storr, 2012. Mixed media on board, 50 x 60cm. Courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary.