"After years painting traditional landscapes, I started to focus my attention on isolated elements as a way to express the experience of the whole. I began painting rocks and boulders removed from their surroundings and painted on linen or paper without providing any clues as to scale or environment. The solitary stone became a landscape unto itself, easily abstracted by the viewer’s own perspective. Zooming in on these “contained” landscapes gave me a new appreciation for the infinite patterns and beauty hidden in the microcosms around us."
- Sean Cavanaugh
Painter Sean Cavanaugh is perhaps best known for his landscapes and botanical portraits and intimate nature studies, which are remarkable for their fidelity to physical detail, their mastery of light, and their sense of atmosphere. Born in 1969, Cavanaugh was exposed to art from a young age through his family, which has produced generations of artists. His mother, March Avery, is a painter, and his grandfather, Milton Avery, is a renowned and leading American Modernist. Cavanaugh has nevertheless managed to carve out his own artistic identity, developing a practice that is distinctly his own.
Cavanaugh studied at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, from which he graduated in 1991 with a BA in both fine art and environmental studies—a testament to his dual interests in painting and nature. Though his early works were mainly landscape watercolors, Cavanaugh’s interest in the natural world led him from the macro to the micro. His most recent work comprise an ongoing series pf precisionist oil-on-canvas paintings and luminous works on paper featuring detailed rendering of trees.
Since graduating from Pitzer College, where he concluded his studies with a solo show at the school’s Salathe Gallery, Cavanaugh has shown extensively throughout the US and abroad. His work has been acquired by several public collections, including the Embassy of the United States, Pakistan; the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.