Well, they all employ the theme of the Garden Party in their artwork.
Cushing, in fact, is currently exhibiting a new show at the Nassau County Museum of Art, located in Roslyn Harbor. The exhibit is on display from now until July 6.
Cushing’s work exemplifies the theme of Garden Party by exploring the imagery of elegant outdoor entertainment. Her work reflects the 145-acre gardens at the Frick Estate and the county house era, when a great country estate with a beautiful garden was a necessary attribute for wealthy Americans.
Cushing is honored to have been selected by guest curator Franklin Hill Perrell, to show her work at the Nassau County Museum, which is now ranked among the nation’s most important suburban art museums.
As with most artists, Cushing is including her own artists’ statement along with the exhibit.
“You can imagine the conversation. You want to be there. At first glance you are struck by the innate desire of wanting to be there,” the statement began. “You are drawn into a world of beauty and glamour where you willingly participate. You find yourself wanting to linger inside each of the paintings. Being there becomes a hidden mantra. The venues, the dress, the postures, the ease of living bring you back to old movie glamour, that of a charmed life.
“While these snapshots of charmed life with stylish people, living an enchanted life, in elegant settings — garden parties, lazy porches and poolside scenes — are pleasing to view you soon realize that you are part of the picture eavesdropping from a voyeur’s perspective. Each one is composed of reflections and shadows, light and dark spaces, that are also a metaphor of life. You can’t have the bright light without the shadows. Susan summarizes her painting philosophy as, ‘The beauty I see around me is what I strive to capture on the canvas. Instead of being dark and brooding, I choose to bring light and levity and focus on happy times.’”
“You are engrossed in her use of color that surrounds every painting. Susan’s belief that stray feelings of beauty that surround us are portrayed in the richness and depth of the color she uses. As Susan says, ‘Turning up the volume on color is what interests me. The richness of color portrays the rich textures of life.’”
“You next observe the shadows, reflections and extreme patterns in the strong light. Reflections become a medium for aesthetically pleasing ideas. ‘I love to play with the strong light at the beginning and end of the day to create abstract shapes within real settings — allowing the abstract shapes to shine through as the main subject of the paintings. Reflections and light become a central theme of life. The colors are saturated. The value is turned way up,’ Cushing said of her work.”
“Susan’s work is a highly stylized series of narrative landscapes inspired by the decade of the 1970s – reminiscent of the lifestyle photographs of Slim Aarons and the post-modern environmental style of Alex Katz and David Hockney. You are part of a narrative landscape; the portrait and Susan’s paintings are evocative of this world of casual elegance as she beautifully captures the colors and themes of summer on canvas.
“Susan’s philosophy of painting is to bridge classical technique with modern themes, capturing moments of reflection in all their beauty and idealized form,” the statement concluded.
The Nassau County Museum of Art is located at 1 Museum Drive. Call 516-484-9338.