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Cy Gavin

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David Zwirner London / London / Art

The American painter Cy Gavin was born in a Rust Belt mining town called Donora, in Pennsylvania. His parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses who moonlighted as missionaries after their day work in a glass factory. “It was a fundamentalist, repressive way of life,” Gavin explains. As a child, he would sneak into the nearby Carnegie Museum of Art through the building next door, a way of avoiding the unobtainable $13 admission fee. His talent won him a place in Carnegie Mellon’s art program, and he now lives and works in upstate New York, surrounded by nature. Gavin’s large, potent landscape paintings, deeply colorful, explore his Afro-Caribbean ancestry, his American upbringing, and themes of race and memory. In his first solo presentation in the U.K., his latest work is on view. —E.C.

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