Exhibition: Peter Cusack – A Painter among Poets
This exhibition opened on April 16th and will be on view until June 4th.
The title for this exhibition is a play on the title of a book by Marjorie Perloff about poet and art critic Frank O’Hara, called A Poet among Painters. With his inverted title A Painter Among Poets, Cusack pays homage to the rich literary history Cornwall has been home to, as well as the physical surroundings of words and books of the library.
Viewers will be treated to work that Cusack has produced since the fall of 2021. Mostly quite large paintings, which are, at first glance, abstract, but described by the artist as figurative; paintings that he also characterizes as “thinner and quieter” than previous works. He elaborates: “I was always a figurative painter but now the figure is dissolving. I’m grappling with the figure wanting to be on the canvas and me not wanting it to be on the canvas.” One potential explanation for this shift in his work would be the challenges of the last two years of constant social distancing. The artist concedes that “possibly yes, that plays a role,” but adds: “Irony has been one of the dominant themes in contemporary art over the last few decades. Maybe more. I’m conscious of seeking, or expressing that which is not ironic – the opposite of ironic, something real and sustaining to connect to – even if it’s “the death of a friend,” which has been the subject of two [of my] paintings over the last two years.”
In addition to the context of the paintings, Cusack is passionate about the materiality of the pieces. “The work is really about painting – the sensual experience of the paint on the canvas – I don’t hide the paint in the image. The paint is really the thing we’re here to see.”
The Cornwall Library
30 Pine Street
Cornwall Village, 06753