I grew up in the quiet Hill Towns of Massachusetts. The landscape of the Berkshires, the rolling hills and changing seasons is a great comfort for me. When I paint I think about these comforts of home.
When I started painting I would take long nightly walks under the streetlights of Amherst, Massachusetts. The bright yellow of the street lamps against the cold blue tones of night eased the day's stresses. Since then my work has reflected the cool loneliness of night, warmed by the hues of artificial illumination.
My paintings are made up of roughly thirty thin, transparent layers, each one adding complexity. As the layers are carefully worked up the composition's forms and colors become more contrasted, more dramatic. The translucent layers create a glowing composition of dark shadows suspended in light.
The landscapes I create are surreal constructs; a stage, rather than representations of a specific place. Like the masked actors in a Greek drama, the characters and objects in my work are emotional archetypes. Using intense oil colors in a layered technique suitable for objective realism, I have developed a painting style that attempts to depict emotion as a solid object.
Many of my paintings center around a single figure set against a vast empty space. The light illuminating the darkness is always just out of the figure's reach. Sometimes the light source is the sun or moon, though most of the time it is ambiguous. Along with the simply depicted hunched figure there may be a tree, or a hut.
The meaning of each element depends on the placement and interaction it has with the rest of the landscape. The sun and moon often stand as sentinels against the darkness. The figures sit, silently contemplating their situation. These meanings change from painting to painting. It is left to the viewer, if they choose, to imagine themselves sitting with the figure, determining what situation it finds itself in.
To see my work in person you can schedule a studio visit through the contact page.
Pastel Stories, Deidre’s Special Day, June 2014, Pittsfield MA
Sean McCusker Solo Exhibit, Adams Town Hall, May-June 2014, Adams MA
Farewell, May We Meet Again, Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, November 2013, Pittsfield MA
Small Works: An Open Juried Exhibition, Welles Gallery, October 2013, Lenox MA
Sean McCusker Solo Show, Mullen House, July-August 2013, Becket MA
Landscape, Color and Me, Treehouse, May 2013, Pittsfield MA
First Fridays, First Year, Five Artists, Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, December 2012, Pittsfield MA
Layers and Lines, Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, May 2012, Pittsfield MA
Artswalk Invitational, Lichtenstein center for the Arts, August 2012, Pittsfield MA
Dreaming of Light, Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, May 2012, Pittsfield MA
SMALL is Big, Gallery 14, March 2012, Vero Beach FL
10x10x25, Gallery 25, February 2012, Pittsfield MA
Inspection and Introspection II, Gallery 25, September to October 2011, Pittsfield MA
Pittsfield Art Show Invitational, Lichtenstein center for the Arts, June to July 2011, Pittsfield MA
Small Works: An Open Juried Exhibition, Welles Gallery, October 2010, Lenox MA
HILLTOWNS REVISITED: Scenes, Sites, and Rustic Inspirations, Mullen House, August to September 2010, Becket MA
Members' Exhibit, Becket Art Center, August to September 2010, Becket MA
Pittsfield Art Show Invitational, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, June to July 2010, Pittsfield MA
SMALL is Big, Gallery 14, March 2010, Vero Beach FL
Small Works: An Open Juried Exhibition, Welles Gallery, October 2009, Lenox MA
Renne Avenue: Studio Artists @ the Lichtenstein Center For the Arts, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, September to October 2009, Pittsfield MA
The Hilltowns: Real or Imagined Encounters, Mullen House, August 2009, Becket MA
Members' Exhibit, Becket Art Center, August 2009, Becket MA
Pittsfield Art Show Invitational, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, June to July 2009, Pittsfield MA
Small Works: An Open Juried Exhibition, Welles Gallery, October 2008, Lenox MA
Members' Exhibit, Becket Art Center, August 2008, Becket MA
Places and Faces in the Hilltowns, Mullen House, August 2008, Becket MA
TD Banknorth Artist of the Month, TD Banknorth, March 2008, Great Barrington, MA
Small Works: An Open Juried Exhibition, Welles Gallery, October 2007, Lenox MA
HVAL Annual Juried Exhibition, Dewey Memorial Hall, July 2007, Sheffield MA
PLACE, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, November to December 2006, Pittsfield, MA
Art Barn Exhibition, Art Barn University of Massachusetts in Amherst, May 2005, Amherst, Massachusetts
Dialogues Between Blob and Home, Central Gallery University of Massachusetts Amherst, April 2005, Amherst, Massachusetts
Quick Now, Here, Now, Always, Student Union Art Gallery, April 2005, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Arches Student Print Exhibit, Boston University, April 2005, Boston, Massachusetts
Professional: 2005-present Assistant to the Director, Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio in Lenox, MA
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, 2005