I know Ben’s studio practice well. Often crossing paths in the underground during late hours, the time lends itself to conversations that unpack the day. Ben’s studio practice is nothing less than a sincere, active exchange between paintings, a proliferation of spatial possibilities emerging from an encompassing spark of life. I’ve enjoyed watching his paintings develop over the last few months. Evening Wanderings, the culmination of that imagination exploration, will be on display in the Speck Gallery during the month of April.
While many painting lovers may know Cusack for his spatial abstractions, Evening Wanderings will unveil deep paths into an enchanted narrative. Prompted by the exquisite photography in National Geographic, this show has roots going back to the fascinations of Cusack’s childhood. To follow the development of his career is to see this body of work as a continued metaphoric unpacking of the unknown. Evening Wanderings does this through the structure of nature. From the bioluminescence that appears on a forest’s edge at the approach of nightfall, to a collector’s desire for strange flora, these paintings play off passages through saturated shadows.
Referencing Whistler, Fitzgerald, and Hughes, a huge accomplishment of Ben’s is the development of his thematic oeuvre. During my studio visits with him, we’ve had great conversations about the formal aspects of a painting as well as elaborating on the indulgences of oddities, of form. Through the body of work as a whole, there is a consistent refining of intrinsically ingrained internal wonder to contemporary references cultivated from Ben’s recent adventures. While nostalgia is an element in Evening Wanderings, I believe it’s worth paying attention to what Ben’s practice has to tell us in the present.
His paintings speak to me about the importance of working to establish places of beauty. While the visual experience is rich and active, I find a place of rest for my imagination. The wander is well worth the time.