Luke McCusker

Artist Statement

In Studio 37, my medium is time and my material is the moment of encounter. My work emerges from the premise that all things, living and non-living, are ultimately beyond the reach of classification and talk. As such, they are worthy of attention, empathy, and love. Faithfulness to this premise demands practice. As the first field of artistic encounter, the studio is the first object of care. It is not a site of production or research but a beloved friend. My drawings, paintings, and field recordings are not works in themselves; they are ways of looking, listening, and coming-alongside Studio 37. 

Such work does not require a human audience. It is a work of love, resonant in silence and consonant across time with the quiet work of monasticism, contemplative prayer, faithful friendship, active listening, silent protest, cultivation, conservation, shelter-making, gathering-in. In the presence of an audience, my practice becomes performance-as-invitation: I engage viewers in unembellished moments of observation and attention, including them in my field of care and my work of encounter where they participate as subject and object in a shared practice of being-together. 

This engagement with Studio 37 presses against the limits of aesthetics and the institution, but it is not a comment. It is a happening, an opening, and a foothold. From its ground you can meet erosion, emptiness, and weight with endurance, tenderness, and courage. Through its window, out of the corner of your eye, you see something glow.

Artist Bio

When Luke McCusker was five years old his family took him to Little Sebago Lake where the expanse of the lake and the weight of the sky filled him with dread. He has been following an existential thread ever since. The thread runs through painting, film, songwriting, phenomenology, ascetic theology. He practices a metaphysics of tenderness with particular attention to the presence of the ineffable in the everyday. He is teaching himself to love the lake.