Signed Joseph Cusack Art Gallery collection pre-1974
Joseph Cusack was a native of Tramore, County Waterford where his father was a member of the Royal Navy. He studied at the Waterford School of Art and at the DMSA, later becoming a ‘pupil-teacher’ at Waterford. He was known in south Munster as an accomplished craft worker whose interests included cane-work, leatherwork, weaving and wood-carving but he is also remembered for his landscape and portrait paintings. He taught design and craft skills in the Waterford Technical College until he retired in 1971. His work achieved wider recognition when he participated in the 1949 exhibition of Irish Artists in Technical Schools.Sadly, Cusack suffered from Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating illness which prevented him from working in his later years and confined him to a wheelchair.Very little of Joseph Cusack’s work is known in the public domain. On the evidence of this engraving, that is a great pity. Farmhouse, Tramore is almost visionary in its attention to detail- not, however, the detail of topography or lifestyle so much as the meticulous attention to the patterns of roof thatching, plough marks and stone walls which, together with the stylised tree behind the house on the left, show a great mastery of design and textural representation. While these aesthetic considerations are ultimately what guarantees the success of this work, the viewer can also enjoy the artist’s celebration of the daily and unpretentious life that goes on in this comfortable and enclosed world. Joseph Cusack was from Tramore and it may be his familiarity with the place that led him to turn his attention to the less represented aspect of this popular seaside resort and to concentrate on its agricultural hinterland instead.