For its opening exhibition in 2024, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine is thrilled to announce Anthony Cudahy: Spinneret. This will be artist Anthony Cudahy’s (b. 1989, Fort Meyers, FL) first solo exhibition in the United States. Spanning the last half-decade of his career, this survey of more than 30 significant paintings—including brand-new work—will explore Cudahy’s richly layered practice. The exhibition will be on view through July 21, 2024.

“This exhibition promises to be a thought-provoking journey through Cudahy’s rich and complex artistic practice. It will offer visitors a unique perspective on the interplay between the personal and the historical in the artist’s work,” said Devon Zimmerman, PhD, OMAA’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “An exhibition of a contemporary artist of Cudahy’s stature is a triumph for OMAA, underscoring our commitment to showcasing exemplary contemporary talent with our audiences.” 

Anthony Cudahy: Spinneret draws inspiration from—and is named for—the silk-producing organ that spiders use to weave, or spin, their webs. Cudahy’s figurative paintings piece together enigmatic scenes of specific objects and equivocal environments from interwoven references drawn from Queer archives, art history, film, poetry, friends, and his own autobiography. His fluid application of paint and idiosyncratic palette—at moments sullen, earthen, corporeal and at others high-key, acidic, artificial—animates the ongoing push and pull between the real and surreal across his practice. 

Through his art, Cudahy explores the hazy slippages of subjectivity in the digital age. The artist anchors his compositions to passages of gentle tenderness, absent-minded repose, or banal isolation; prosaic instances that often carry the greatest poetic weight. Within these moments, Cudahy contemplates love and friendship. His husband, the photographer Ian Lewandowski, frequently appears as the artist’s muse, found reading, sleeping, or entwined. Cudahy also turns to his network of friends, like the artist Lily Wong, who is caught lost in thought gazing from a balcony or tensely moving furniture in a New York apartment. The art historical mixes with the present, as Cudahy imbibes figures and compositions from works by artists as far-flung as Giorgione, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Lois Dodd, and Francis Bacon. 

Wrapped around his scenes of intimacy are meditations on death and its politics. From the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Cudahy examines these periods of crises with homages to artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman, and more germane views of crowds congregating during lockdowns. Cudahy brings together different histories, culling images from a range of sources, including photos from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center archives in New York and medieval tapestries. These themes are woven throughout the works in the exhibition.