Mary Beth Kushner
Sunset, acrylic, texturing medium, and varnish, 30″ x 40″, 2010
Eruption, metallic paint, texturing medium, and varnish, 24″ x 48″, 2012
A Paradox, texturing medium, acrylic/metallic paints, and varnish, 8″ x 24″, 2011
Growing Roots, texturing medium, acrylic/metallic paints, and varnish, 12″ x 48″, 2012
Lone Bare Tree, acrylic/metallic paints, texturing medium, and varnish, 30″ x 40″, 2011
Los Angeles Freeway, texturing medium, acrylic/metallic paints, and varnish, 24″ x 48″, 2012
Autumn Leaves, acrylic/metallic paints and varnish, 30″ x 40″, 2011
My art depicts how I see, touch, and engage with life. To dissect the elements of my paintings is to dissect the composition of my recollections and the origin of my inspirations. The abstract nature of my pieces evolves from the raw emotion and unconstrained imagination that compel me to let go and give in to the moment.
Texturing increasingly represents a distinguishing aspect of my work. My earlier works used texture sparingly because they focused more on creating flow and imagery through paint. Texture both grounds a painting and sets it free—a combination of opposites that fascinates me.
I begin my paintings with layers of various texturing mediums applied purposefully to control and image or create in abstract. I might apply a single line of molding paste to trigger visual senses and draw the eye to a specific place on the painting. And I might apply a crackle medium to create depth and give a painting a three-dimensional aspect. I rely on texture to stimulate the senses and induce a desire to touch and engage with the work.
Texture provides a blueprint for the paint that brings a canvas to life. I paint with acrylics, applying layer upon layer of color, then blending the colors to the perfect hue. The richness of color and quality of movement obtained through paint underscore my work.
Metallic paints have been a staple of my artistry, often serving as the foundation of my nature-inspired pieces. I have used spray paint throughout my collections, from my nature-inspired pieces to the new works with inspirational words and phrases. I like the contrast achieved with spray paint. Unlike controlled brush strokes, spray paint carries an air of defiance, spattering on the painting without concern for boundaries.
I am constantly seeking ways to refine my work and make my paintings a reflection of self. Using often discarded knickknacks appeals to my innate sense of individuality as a person and as an artist. Recycled canvas, tile bits, old signs, and tissue paper make random appearances, adding textural intricacy to my paintings. I have combined paint with gloss or gel mediums to create the illusion of a suspended image. Recent works feature floating frames, stained and finished before being attached to the canvases. I seal my pieces with a high-gloss varnish that enriches and accentuates each element.
About the Artist
Mary Beth Kushner is a self-taught abstract artist who lives in Rochester, New York, and works as an occupational therapist at Strong Memorial Hospital.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Mary lived in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1999 to 2011. The birth of her niece persuaded her to return to New York.
In July 2013, Mary participated in the Berkshires Art Festival, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In September of this year, she had a booth at the Clothesline Festival in Rochester, New York. She is showing her work October 25-27 at the Contemporary Art Fair in New York City.
Mary Beth Kushner has exhibited at the State of the Art Gallery, Ithaca, New York; and in “Text and Texture” at High Falls Art Gallery, Rochester, New York; “Local Color”, the annual members’ show of the Arts Council for Wyoming County, in Perry, New York; and “6x6x2013” at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center, Rochester, New York.