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3 settembre 2013 No Comments by Alessandro Bellaro

Le mappe sono le coreografie narrative che usiamo per guidare le nostre esplorazioni attraverso un mondo sconosciuto. Lavorando principalmente con il collage, il mio lavoro inizia con l’inversione di questo ordine coreografico tradizionale, piuttosto che utilizzare la cartografia come mezzo per interpretare la complessità della realtà, io uso la cartografia come la sostanza con cui dipingere la sua illusione. Ho iniziato a raccogliere e lavorare con mappe come un nuovo mezzo nel 20001 dopo aver deciso di impiegare materiale stampato come un surrogato per la vernice. Le mappe sono un perfetto connubio di scienza e arte, e la loro bellezza intrinseca e la complessità visiva continuerà ad informare la mia identità artistica. Mappe: hanno tutte le proprietà di una pennellata buona: sfumatura, densità, linea, movimento ed espressione. Matthew Cusick è un artista affascinato dalla geografia della cultura americana. Auto, autostrade, campi da golf, le onde dell’oceano, tutti archetipi ricorrenti nel suo lavoro. Formatosi come pittore, nel 2001 ha iniziato a collezionare ed in seguito lavorare con le mappe e speciali pellicole, utilizzando gli stampati digitali e video come un surrogato per la vernice. Mostre del suo lavoro includono mostre personali presso la Columbus Museum of Art, Pavel Zoubok Galleria, e Kent Fine Art, così come un twoperson mostra alla Galleria Andrew Kreps. Il suo lavoro è stato anche incluso nelle mostre del SITE a Santa Fe, il Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di San Diego, il Katonah Museum of Art, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, la Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Exit Art, The Drawing Center, e numerose altre mostre collettive in gallerie e istituzioni attraverso gli Stati Uniti e l’Europa.

Maps are the narrative choreographies we use to guide our explorations through an unfamiliar world. Working primarily with collage, my work begins with the reversal of this traditional choreographic order; rather than using cartography as a means to interpret the complexity of reality, I use cartography as the substance with which to paint its illusion. I began collecting and working with maps as a new medium in 20001 after deciding to employ printed matter as a surrogate for paint. Maps are a perfect union of science and art, and their inherent beauty and visual complexity continue to inform my artistic identity. Maps have all the properties of a good brushstroke: nuance, density, line, movement, and expression. Their palette is deliberate and symbolic, helping to internalize the external. The map collages integrate mythology with territory by rendering my subject matter with the authentic relics of its own timeline and history. Each map fragment is a representation of an existence and an index of a specific time and place. The merging of dissimilar map fragments into the matrix of an illusory image allows for the rendering of hybrid geographical timelines and topographies while also generating contemporary meaning from obsolete narratives. While the map collages may resemble photorealist paintings, they are essentially conceptual mosaics; apocryphal pictures composed of dislocated fragments of maps that have been meticulously cut and inlaid into depictions of escapism and exoticism, nihilism and transgression, and occasionally, transcendence.Like Max Ernst, I strive for plausibility. Using tactics of concealment, I present collage as a completely developed and autonomous system. Many juxtapositions occur, but seamlessness is what concerns me. I want the images that confront you to impress refinement before they lapse into disembodied apparitions. Craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the use of authentic materials and archival techniques are all intrinsic qualities of my work. I try to retain the demarcated outlines and boundaries of the maps that I dissect. Subjects such as Geronimo, Bonnie and Clyde, the Beltway Sniper, and the Manson family are rendered with authentic maps specific to the time and place of their notorious lives. My wave collages, with references to surfing, tsunamis and Melville’s Moby Dick, are explorations of epistemological turbulence and the complexity of masculine archetypes and sexuality cast upon the female personification of the sea. My work is also an integration of cartography and photography. Similar to a photograph, a map is a representation of one culture for the interests of another. Both maps and photographs are essentially devices for transgression, a means to live outside of one’s cultural limitations, a reason to infringe upon, and a guide for crisscrossing, the boundaries of time and location. I also work with a variety of found materials that include old bibles, Hollywood movies, Victorian engravings, school textbooks, and encyclopedias. I sort and catalog my source material according to its formal and contextual properties, creating an archive from which I draw upon to compose. There are essential concepts that remain in the collective unconscious. To access them we must only find the portal.  In cutting and splicing together the simulacrum of the past, I am making images. But I am also excavating, engaging in a reconstruction in order to locate that portal.

About the artist: Matthew Cusick is an artist captivated by the geography of American culture. Cars, freeways, golf courses, ocean waves, and infamous icons and archetypes have all been recurrent themes in his work. Trained as a painter, in 2001 Cusick began collecting and working with maps and appropriated film clips, employing printed matter and digital video as a surrogate for paint. Exhibitions of his work include solo shows at the Columbus Museum of Art, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, and Kent Fine Art, as well as a twoperson exhibition at Andrew Kreps Gallery. His work has also been included in exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Katonah Museum of Art, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Exit Art, The Drawing Center, and numerous other group exhibitions in galleries and institutions across the United States and Europe. In 2009, Cusick’s map work was featured in the Princeton Architectural Press volume The Map As Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography. His work has also been featured in The New York Times,
the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Art In America, Harper’s Magazine, the Paris Review, and The Surfers Journal.
Born in New York City in 1970, Cusick received his BFA from The Cooper Union in 1993. He was a recipient of the NYFA Painting Fellowship in 2006 and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Residency Fellowship in 2008 and has been a visiting artist, lecturer, and adjunct professor at The Cooper Union and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His work is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the International Collage Center, and the Progressive Corporation Art Collection. Since 2007, he has lived and worked in Northern Texas and currently resides in Dallas.

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