"Golden Red", painting. (c) Maya Lama, 2009

BAA Artist Directory

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Sean McCusker

Becket, MA
Website: http://www.sean-mccusker.com
Photo of Sean McCusker

Biographical Info

Living in the quiet town of Becket, MA, Sean McCusker has developed a kinship with the solitude of the hilly landscape around him. Focusing this in his artwork he develops striking surreal landscapes full of color and mystery. The subjects of his paintings, although abstract, are reminiscent of the lone hero from film; confidently standing against the world yet yearning for the security of a home just over the horizon.

Sean’s 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 he creates 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 his work are emotional archetypes. Using intense oil colors in a layered technique suitable for objective realism, he has developed a painting style that attempts to depict emotion as a solid object.

Many of Sean’s 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.

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.

His work has been shown at galleries and storefronts across Berkshire County including the Berkshire Museum, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and the Lenox Gallery. As Assistant to the Director at the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, in Lenox, MA, he has been involved with grant writing, curating, collections management, and conservation. He has also been an active member of the arts community in Pittsfield, offering his experience to Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk and Artscape Committee.

Categories: Painting - Oils, Painting - Pastels