PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY invites you to an exhibition of new work by MATTHEW CUSICK, whose meticulous inlaid collages made from maps and printed ephemera address a range of subjects, including the nihilistic and celebrity-driven culture of Hollywood, and the male-dominated worlds of muscle cars and surfing. In this exhibition, Cusick juxtaposes his iconic images of cresting waves with idealized portraits of women derived from European Scenes et Types postcards, including portraits of porn-star Shauna Grant and German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. For Cusick, the devil is in the details as he constructs an alternative narrative within each image using map fragments that are rich in historical and cultural significance.
Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, September 7, 2012 from 6-8pm or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through October 6.
The gallery is located at: 533 West 23rd Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues) Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-6pm
The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
-Lucifer, Paradise Lost by John Milton
In the mind of artist Matthew Cusick, Milton’s prophetic words point knowingly to the transformative power of images. In his portraits, Cusick uses cartography and content to explore the dual nature of beauty – with a definite preference for the darker, more subversive side of the equation. For instance, Cusick derives many of his erotic portraits of women from Scene et Types postcards that historically portrayed women as colonial subjects, subordinate to the European male gaze. The maps that Cusick employs in his portraits of Jezebel: an Algerian prostitute, Oceania: a Polynesian temptress, and Amazonian refer to the specific countries that colonized these lands. If content is the matrix that coheres, Cusick’s works Shauna and Leni are bookends to this exhibition, as he juxtaposes the lewd come-on of a young starlet who committed suicide at 21, with the confident unapologetic portrait of a controversial filmmaker. The careful balance between beauty and violence also lies at the center of Cusick’s most iconic works – his images of waves, each named for a different woman – embody the beauty and terrifying power of the ocean, teetering on the brink of serenity and destruction.
In the accompanying catalogue essay, Michael Corris writes:
The desire to explore the surface of each of Cusick’s pictures, irrespective of subject matter, eroticizes them and makes them fascinating. Linking picture and method only intensifies them. One could say that Cusick’s reproduction engine unifies everything to which he turns his attention; a less generous assessment might mark them as obsessive, mechanical and soulless. But this would be a false reading because his technique does not merely produce images that effortlessly mimic the hue, texture and tone of an existing photographic image. What is remarkable about Cusick’s art is its ability to subtly revise the balance between medium, subject matter and expressiveness that is the hallmark and the power of all visual depiction.