By any measure Leo Cussen was a quintessential artist, having dedicated his life to creating incredibly expressive pastel artworks that revealed his love of film and popular culture. With a penchant towards depicting Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers mid-twirl, he revelled in capturing moments from the Golden Age of Hollywood, creating artworks of great movement and beauty.
Cussen refined his distinct style over a 20-year career, seeking inspiration from the tropes and personalities of Hollywood, as well as familial instances and life circumstances. This survey show will explore the artist’s oeuvre, highlighting four key themes: Hollywood, Popular Culture, Text and Early Years.
Alongside these thematic investigations, the show will highlight the personality behind the works. When discussing Cussen and his work, David Hurlston, past Curator of Australian Art Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, once described Cussen’s pastels as “a complex manifestation of conscious and subconscious expression. It is fresh and spontaneous but at the same time considered and deliberate. He is an artist of immense artistic energy who has an instinctive ability to capture the essence of his subjects.”
LEO CUSSEN: GOLDEN YEARS will open Saturday 16 September from 3-5pm, continuing until 21 October.
Leo Cussen (1959 – 2015) exhibited widely both nationally and internationally during his lifetime, showing at Australian Galleries, Latrobe Regional Gallery, The Museum of Everything and National Gallery of Australia. His work is also held in numerous public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Victoria and National Gallery of Australia. LEO CUSSEN: GOLDEN YEARS is curated by Sim Luttin and is supported by a full-colour Leonard Joel Series catalogue that features an essay by Kirsty Grant.
Image | Leo Cussen, Not titled, 2005, work on paper, 33 x 50 cm.