Michael Cusack has built his reputation as a painter of shapes. Over the years this interest in painterly solutions has played out in multiple ways with subtle changes in composition and colour relationships. Recent developments in Cusack’s practice have seen a shift in focus from shape making to the corruptions and complications of the painted surface. This development is part of his interest in painting’s role as both image and object. As a consequence, paintings are cut, erased collaged and sanded until they begin to fall apart; the liquid language of paint is interchanged with other materials like paper, cement and wood. Cusack’s love of shape making is not abandoned; rather, shapes are erased or hidden within the painting surface. Through self-imposed studio impediments Cusack is tugging more vigorously at the relationship between ideas and materials, something James Elkins is concerned with when he asks ‘how do substances occupy the mind?’ This recent concern for the importance of materials and the language they produce is in part fostered by a re-engagement with Samuel Beckett’s ideas on inexpressibility and the gap between meaning and language. In essence the exhibition No Matter can be read as documentation of the transformation of perceptual experience into painterly form, an investigation of materiality through traditional and non-traditional means, aiming to trigger some kind of opening or ensure an ongoing dialogue with his work.
Press release courtesy Martin Browne Contemporary.