Anthony Cudahy (b.1989 Florida, USA) received a BFA from Pratt Institute, NY in 2011 and completed an MFA at Hunter College, NY in 2020. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Cudahy is a figurative painter whose tender scenes reveal the nuanced complexities of life. In masterful compositions he creates a world for unspoken stories, intimate moments and romantic gesture. Personal and poetic, Cudahy’s figures coalesce with the atmosphere of their environments in fluid brushstrokes.
At once dark and luminous, Cudahy’s paintings often have a phosphorescent quality to them, as though they are lit from within. For the artist, how the paint is handled has its own narrative potential – the thick textures, light airy space, patterning and delicate marks are all active in the story he is creating. Alongside painting, Cudahy makes incredibly detailed colored pencil drawings, in an all-consuming process of mark making. Unlike his paintings which transform throughout the making, the challenging medium calls for the compositions to be decided beforehand.
Cudahy devotedly collects images. His collection draws upon queer photo archives, film stills, snapshots of his partner, ancient sites, hagiographic icons and the photography of his great uncle, Kenny Gardner (which his husband, Ian Lewandowski has been compiling). Cudahy returns to his collected images time and time again, for they have a potent quality, which sparks ideas and concepts for the works. Painting several versions of the same figure or scene, in each work he will make changes to the dimension, media, crop and narrative.
For Cudahy, the archive becomes a site for imagining – in the process of painting, scenes become less specific to time and place but hint more at the mythical or potential reality. References from art history ranging from Pompeii tiles, the Bayeux tapestry, Bruegel and Bosch find their way into his lexicon and visual shorthand. Floral elements from tapestries are used for their decorative formal qualities. Cudahy intuitively combines motifs with personal imagery to create a complex compositional puzzle. Bringing the past into the present, the sensitive works re-visit and expand on the original references.
Cudahy works on many painterly projects that are linked to queer histories which have been left untold. By painting and re-contextualizing the past to address the present, the artist speaks to the continuum of queer experience across generations. In Cudahy’s dedicated practice, he explores intimacy and vulnerability, as well as trauma in distinctly hopeful works. In allegories of histories forgotten, he shows how active the past is in shaping the future.
Cudahy presented a solo exhibition, Burn Across the Breeze at 1969 Gallery, NY in 2021 and has upcoming solo shows at Hales, NY; Semiose Gallery, Paris, France, and a two-person show at Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. He has had solo shows at Farewell Books Austin, TX; 1969 Gallery, NY; Cooler Gallery, NY; Mumbo's Outfit, NY; and The Java Project in Brooklyn, NY, all USA. He has been in group shows at Pratt Institute’s Dekalb Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA; Perrotin Gallery, NY, USA; Rude Assembly, Sydney, Australia; Danese/Corey NY, USA; Semiose Gallery, Paris, France; Kapp Kapp, Philadelphia, PA, USA; Half Gallery, NY, USA; Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA; Practice, NY, USA; Harpy Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA; ATHICA, GA, USA; Monya Rowe Gallery, NY; Pale Horse, Mulherin, Toronto, ON, Canada; the Dawn Hunter Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; 68 Projects, Berlin, Germany, among others. His work has also been featured and reviewed in publications including Artforum, W Mag Korea, Brooklyn Rail, The London Magazine, Cultured Mag, Mossless, GAYLETTER, the Paris Review, Hello Mr., Marco Polo Quarterly, and Cakeboy. He is a former resident of the Artha Project, NY, USA. In 2017 Dashwood Books released Vigil (RHYTHM) Vigil, a volume of Cudahy’s paintings alongside photographs by his husband Ian Lewandowski, which was featured in the Queering Space exhibition at Alfred University, NY in 2018. Cudahy has been included in a forthcoming exhibition, and I will wear you in my heart of heart, which will open at the FLAG Art Foundation, NY, USA in May.