Shop Talk in the Underground Gallery: Benaiah Cusack

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Benaiah Cusack is a contemporary landscape painter with an expressionistic painting style characterized and embodied by dramatic color which showcases his unique view of abstract landscapes.

“I hope that my paintings can open a window into a new environment that creates metaphors and sparks the imagination.  I am inspired to create colorful atmospheric places that transport the viewer and myself beyond the norm, fusing glimpses of nature, fantasy, and mystery.”

Clear Seeing Place by Brian Rutenberg, is one of my favorite books which is a collection of the painter’s YouTube studio visits.  This book has been informative and inspiring to my process.

“Empathy is Gold.  Art brings us back into ourselves by making us unrecognizable to ourselves; we see through someone else’s eyes, which broaden our experience and gives us empathy.  Painting is the most empathetic art form.”

“Painting restores the spaciousness of childhood and reminds us of things we knew but forgot, because art is carefully orchestrated wandering.  If you’re in a hurry, you’ll miss everything. To be a painter, you must have more patience than anyone else in the room and know how to disappear in plain view.

Shop Talk is a show to celebrate the newly renovated underground and the artists that are adjacent to it. While not exclusively a trait of the artists that share the underground, I feel that those of us who have our studios close to each other have informal, informative conversations.

I asked everyone to write a little about themselves, and to share a favorite interview, book, or podcast that they feel is useful while they work in the studio. While I think it is important for artists to get in the zone and to deeply engage in our work, I think it’s also important to identify the voices that give us some sense of our location in contemporary practice. I find myself looking for substantive conversations. I’m also amazed by how I try to get someone’s idea out of my head! Regardless, I’m grateful for the casual interactions I have with my neighbors, as it keeps me sharp and gives me a place to find my own voice.

-Nathan Foxton, Curator

This is the fourth in a series of seven.