Reshaping Canvases: Steven Cushner, Shaped Paintings at Hemphill

by January 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From ArtSee. Email contact[AT] and follow ArtSee@ArtSeeinDC on Twitter.


Hemphill will open Steven Cushner’s show this weekend. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Grazioli)

Steven Cushner: The Shaped Paintings is a must see to kick off the New Year, and it opens this Saturday, January 13, with a public reception from 6 to 8 pm, Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th Street.

Cushner, one of the most successful artists in the District, displays a series of work that has not been seen or shown in 20 years. What makes this show so unique is how Cushner completely redefines the boundaries of a canvas.

In nine of the works on display, Cushner’s goal is to explore patterns, repetition, size and symmetry of an image, mostly confining him to the same color palette. He finds, through his explorations, that these works could not be translated on a regular canvas.

Cushner says that he doesn’t “want paintings to be anything they’re not,” so he gave his work new life with unconventional canvas sizes and shapes. No two canvases are the same and they highlight the striking images that Cushner creates.

Each work in the show has a true sense of balance and symmetry, even with the drips and splatters of paint that Cushners says are completely natural due to his thin application of paint. His process of sketch to canvas is deliberate and once the thought is on paper it is clear that he does not deviate from that image. In addition to the works, Hemphill shows some of Cushner’s original sketches that are a really powerful addition.

The show will be up through March 9 to kick-off Hemphill’s 20th anniversary. It is a perfect celebration of new ideas with historic value and a wonderful collaboration between the artist and his long time gallery representation. For more information on the show visit


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