Matthew Cusick’s work involves the excavation, intervention, and reconstruction of remnants from the past, which he then employs as a surrogate for paint. Using collage as his primary medium, he meticulously cuts and inlays fragments of maps and other repurposed material into the picture plane. By employing the historical narratives that are embedded in the printed ephemera he selects for each piece, Matthew’s work resonates with a seamless yet densely layered representation of his emblematic subject matter.
About the Images
Chasing the Dragon
Chasing the Dragon, a euphemism for smoking heroin, is a depiction of the interchange between I35 and the George Bush Turnpike (635) in Texas. Adjacent to the main highway is a flyover highway made up of maps of the middle east and the region often called ’the cradle of civilization’. The foreground is painted a deep cyanide, which is used in open pit mines and is incredibly toxic to the earth. Coupled with America’s addiction to driving and oil, the landscape that the highways lead towards has decayed into an ethereal floating dragon.
Geronimo is a more specific piece, yet has a very strong historical context as it is made from an atlas printed the year Geronimo died. The maps are of all the major cities in America and the railroads connecting them, emphasizing the closing of the frontier and the radical transformation of America into an industrial nation.
The wave is the most fractured and contextually broad collage, even though it is predominately all water maps. The geographic locations and time periods, and shades of blue, of each map fragment in the wave is unique and merge together to form a wide spectrum of the earth and our history.
All images courtesy of Pavel Zoubok Gallery, Matthew Cusick © 2014.
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