POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Renowned artist Lisa Cuscuna didn't start out as a painter, but her past work as a video artist and photographer helped shaped the artist she is today.
Cuscuna, a Stamford, Conn. resident and graduate of The Cooper Union, is slated to open a new show at the Pound Ridge Library next month called “Beaches and Other Landscapes with Poured Paint,” which will underscore her unique approach to her paintings.
A video artist and photographer for 25 years, Cuscuna’s media work is on display in various places around the world, including the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas, the Petronas Discovery Center in Kuala Lumpur and the International Olympic Committee museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
For the past 10 years, Cuscuna has dedicated herself to painting and making composite photographic images using her vast catalog of photos to create new works of art.
Many of her paintings are created beginning with a surface of "washed color over the canvas.” This is achieved by pouring thinned oil color onto the canvases and manipulating the stream of the pour. These backgrounds are then enhanced with brushwork in detail to get their unusual effect. At her Pound Ridge show, viewers will find several beach landscapes with details of stones and shells and some that invoke a feeling of the Southwest desert and mountain areas.
“Starting out in 1973, after a year of photography in South America, I went to work in New York as a professional printer of black and white photography,” she said. “I then moved into the audio visual field where I designed multimedia shows for corporations and the Broadway stage. During those years, I traveled extensively, photographing the countries that I traveled to, building the vast library of images that I use in my work today.”
In 2001, she started to reconstruct some of her photography into surrealistic visions with the use of several computer programs. The original images are scanned into the computer at a very high resolution and the end product is printed on archival paper with archival inks. After formulating images on paper, Cuscuna uses the images as inspiration for her surrealistic oil paintings.
“I like to try to create images that ask the viewer to look at things with a new perspective, juxtaposing clouds with land and water with sky,” she said. “Many of my paintings have gateways, doorways and windows taking the viewer from one vista to another.”
Cuscuna’s show at the Pound Ridge Library is scheduled to open Aug. 18 and continues through Sept. 28. The library is at 271 Westchester Ave.