Mickey Cunningham – Painter
Artist’s Statement :
Never a creature of habit, sometimes I work from life and sometimes from my imagination. I paint both objectively (mostly landscapes and figures) and non-objectively. Deliberate brushwork and rich color are hallmarks of my style. When I work non-objectively, I let experimentation and discovery rule. Ideas imparted into the paintings are born through manipulation of shapes, lines, and color. This way of working is like taking a walk without a destination—wandering to see what’s out there. Sometimes representational elements creep in, and I allow them to stay, playing them off areas of pure abstraction. I use texture and color to draw the viewer in for closer inspection. I hope my paintings invite a dance—step in, step back, step in.
I grew up in a big old house in the country with seven imaginative older siblings. We put on plays and puppet shows and spent hours outdoors, building forts in the woods, catching salamanders and fireflies, and roaming freely around the farmland of Cornwall, Pennsylvania. My parents always kept a ream of drawing paper in a kitchen cupboard. I liked drawing and making things. When I was a teenager, my family moved to suburban Philadelphia, and a favorite art teacher helped me feel settled and got me to think about art in a serious way. While studying at Colby College in Maine, I fell in love with plein-air landscape painting. During the summer, I attended painting, drawing, and clay modeling classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. I earned a master’s degree in art history from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and have worked as a curator and a teacher. I have won various prizes and awards for my painting including grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Central Minnesota Arts Board. For over thirty years, I have lived in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. I have two grown daughters with my husband, a philosophy professor.
Education: Colby College, Maine, BA
Tyler School of Art, Temple Univ., Phila., MA
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Summer School
Also studied with: Bela Petheo, Ian De Souza, Kevi