"Twilight Fire" from Landscape Beyond: Surreal and abstract landscape paintings by Benaiah Cusack.

"Twilight Fire" from Landscape Beyond: Surreal and abstract landscape paintings by Benaiah Cusack.

Review: Benaiah Cusack at Harrison Gallery 

***

Through Feb. 27 at Harrison Gallery. It's easy to see the influence of Susan Hodgin — a Harrison Center resident artist who died in August — on the work of her student Benaiah Cusack.

We might start with the multi-colored lattices in Cusack's "The Harbor: a study." Such lattices can often be found in Hodgin's post-2010 work, whereas Cusack's "Metamorphosis" looks like an attempt to marry some motifs in Hodgin's pre-2010 earlier work — with its circles of bold color — with his own ideas.

Alas, some of rings of paint that pop out of the fruity alien landscape of "Metamorphosis" are so thickly applied that they still seem wet. In a similar sense, some of Cusack's paintings haven't quite congealed as he struggles to find his own voice while sorting through all of these inspirations.

Still, this show has its high points. I like “Carnival Grove,” a strange landscape that alludes to Hodgin’s style instead of copying it outright, and “Summer Myst,” an expressionistic forest landscape that bears little sign of her influence.

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