Sean Sullivan

Elegysome

6/12/20 – 6/27/20

Feuilleton is proud to present an exhibition of the Hudson Valley-based artist Sean Sullivan.

The work of Sean Sullivan deftly plays with paradoxes and limitations. It is bound by a set of very specific procedures and parameters, which allow it to become, paradoxically, limitless. Something between a painting, drawing, monoprint, and a piece of writing, not to mention a classical (indexical) photograph, Sullivan’s compact works marvelously resist classification. They consist of oil paint/stick transferred to found paper (often pages from old books). The rather elaborate process whereby he does this consists of the application of oil stick to a sheet of newsprint, which he then thins out with a silkscreen squeegee until it resembles something like carbon paper. Then he places the found paper face down on top of the oil transfer paper and makes a drawing on the reverse of the found paper with a Bic ballpoint pen. Each color in a finished piece is represented by a different sheet of oil transfer paper– what he describes as “a hybrid sort of drawing/printmaking process.” Given that the application of his mark making is largely guided by rulers, washers and record albums, his technical vocabulary is quite restrained, and yet the resultant images, which range from off-kilter, geometric design-like patterns to architectural interiors and exteriors to more exuberant biomorphic abstractions, are as rich and variegated as his supports are small.

Indeed, if large-scale painting is analogous to the literary epic, then what Sullivan makes can be likened to the form of the haiku. Effectively palimpsests, the works cumulatively read as meditations encoded into a personal and idiosyncratic language that secretly discloses itself entirely. There is an odd, radically meticulous and devotional quality to what he does.

It is, at times, redolent of the pictorially dense and mathematical logic of the arabesque, while at other times, it seems to be the byproduct of an almost mystical, modernist possession, while still at others, the diagrammatic ravings of a possibly unhinged scholiast. Imagining the production of these pieces, one pictures a figure insistently bent over as if in prayer, or toiling over an illuminated manuscript, or finally, privately laboring away, like a watchmaker– activities which are probably not so dissimilar to one another in the special and inimitable universe of Sean Sullivan.

In solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Feuilleton and Sean Sullivan will donate 20% of all sales to theEqual Justice Initiative.

Sean Sullivan (b. 1975, Bronx, NY) lives and works in the Hudson Valley, NY. A selection of recent one and two person exhibitions includes: (2019) BDDW Annex Gallery, New York, NY (2018) String Figures, with Christoph Schellberg. A collaboration between Markus Luttgen Gallery and Linn Luhn Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany; à ùne éa, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, NY (2017) WEST / END / BLUES - 57w57Arts, New York, NY; Ubbe & Sacco - 510 Warren Street Gallery, Hudson, NY; Sunset, Saudade Station, Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago, IL A selection of recent group exhibitions includes (2019) Sun is Setting / Faith in Strangers, Devening Projects,  *Curator (2018) Museum for Drawing, Ute Parduhn Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany (2017) Mon Oncle, Museum for Drawing, Hunningen, Belgium; We’ll turn Manhattan into an island of joy, Markus Luttgen Gallery, Cologne, Germany.

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