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In our contemporary setting, the reproduction and transformation of images and concepts has become more and more common within artistic production. The beauty of past references, when looped and short-circuited, is allowed to break free from its primary context or meaning, and is enabled to create an inedited language of its own. Anthony Cudahy works hard in the uncovering of forgotten stories, activating the past’s potential towards the understanding of future being. 

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Born in Florida, in 1989, Anthony Cudahy currently lives and works in Brooklyn (NY), where he recently received an anticipated MFA degree from Hunter College. In Cudahy’s visual research, images that belong to different backgrounds find a way to intertwine, producing multiple readings of a single frame and allowing all of the sources to combine and to express a language of their own. Art history, queer photography, portraiture and domestic settings, get in touch with one another, taking full advantage of the freedom that lies within the canvas’ perimeter; the result, is a series of multiple paintings which stand as different readings of the same story, different angles of the same subject. 

 

Anthony Cudahy, Off the Back Porch, 2019. Oil and acrylic on canvas.

 

“Painting in multiples also helped me to understand that you don't have to do everything in one painting. I feel more free to try out a color or paint-handling idea when I know it's not my only go at the image. And sometimes an image is so potent and has so many angles to it, multiples just seem a given.”

 

Anthony Cudahy, Divided Ophrys Apifera, 2020. Oil on canvas.

 

Within Cudahy’s paintings, both figurative and abstract hybrids, accept the challenge towards their historical references, towards their ancestors, functioning in a similar way to an archeologist, using the past in all of its activeness and continuously uncovering ancient secrets filled with inedited beauty. The process that the artist adopts, acts both as an iteration and interpretation of a specific subject, looping around a story while translating all of its complexities for us contemporaries to understand. What Anthony Cudahy enacts in his canvases is a subtle form of transposition: the images that the artist researches, when looped and reproduced, are subject to a transformation, which often creates a visual language that has a life of its own, made of codes, references and signifiers. The final image is both referential and free from dogmatic preconceptions, it stands as a fresh and interesting point of view filled with dialectical potential.

 

Anthony Cudahy, Off the Back Porch II, 2020. Oil on canvas.

 

When looking at a contemporary painting, we must always search for its connection with the past in order to reach a better understanding both of its present appearance and its future potential. Ancient references, when approached and transformed using contemporary methods or techniques, such as the aforementioned form of iteration, are allowed to gain new life and create a visual language that better adapts to the contemporary rhythm. Artistic personas, like the one embodied by Anthony Cudahy, educate the viewer towards a more profound understanding of the relations that intertwine between our visual past, present and future. 

 

Anthony Cudahy, studio shot of “Under and Behind (Narcissus on the table, mutant flower outside)”, 2020. Oil and acrylic on canvas.

 

Cover image: Anthony Cudahy, painting from “Narsulips” show at Cooler Gallery, 2016. Oil on canvas.

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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