A new exhibition of abstract paintings by Michael Cusack, entitled No history but in things showing at Olsen Gallery from February 20 to March 17, presents works based on the emphatic declaration of American Imagist poet William Carlos Williams: “No ideas but in things!” Cusack explains his interest, too, in Samuel Beckett’s ideas on inexpressibility and the gap between meaning and language: “I’m painting a sort of absence of painting whilst looking back to the bigger picture of the history of painting. I think abstraction has a way to reconfigure, to remember and also to rethink how we look at paintings and what we get from them and what they give us. It’s an unapologetically old idea of poetry in painting, influenced by writers and poets who were seeking a non-language, and who looked to painters for their ability to express the non-verbal – who were wracked with the idea that words were no good. As a painter I’m returning to these ideas. The non-idea transmitted through the material, trusting that paint’s silence provides enough.” Born in Dublin, Ireland, Michael Cusack emigrated to Australia in 1982 and currently lives and works in Byron Bay, Australia where he teaches at the Byron School of Art. He holds a Master of Visual Arts from Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane.
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