Existing at the intersection of several media, including painting, drawing and writing, this work is effectively a palimpsest, or a paper built up through successive layers of mark-making and erasure. It was created through a meditative process—radically meticulous and so elaborate that it has a devotional quality—that encodes the resulting composition with a personal and idiosyncratic language. First, the artist applies oil stick to a sheet of newsprint and then thins it out with a silk screen squeegee until it resembles something like carbon paper. Then the artist places a piece of found paper, usually from an old book, face down on top of the oil transfer sheet. Sullivan then makes a drawing on the reverse side of the found paper with a ballpoint pen. Each color in a finished piece is represented by a different sheet of oil transfer paper in what Sullivan describes as “a hybrid sort of drawing/printmaking process.”
Sean Sullivan’s work exists at the intersection of several media, including painting, drawing and writing. The artist places a piece of found paper face down on top of a color transfer sheet marked with oil stick, and then makes a drawing on the reverse side of the found paper with a ballpoint pen; each color in a finished piece is represented by a different sheet of oil transfer paper in a sort of hybrid process of drawing and printmaking. Sullivan’s compact works are similar to haiku, as they are created through a specific set of procedures and parameters, yet ultimately become limitless in their deft play.
Sean Sullivan was born in the Bronx, New York in 1975.
Solo and two-person exhibitions of Sullivan’s work have taken place at: Feuilleton in Los Angeles, California (2020); BDDW Annex Gallery in New York City (2019); String Figures, with Christoph Schellberg, a collaboration between Markus Luttgen Gallery and Linn Luhn Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany (2019); à ùne éa at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York City (2018); WEST / END / BLUES at 57w57Arts in New York City (2017); Ubbe & Sacco at 510 Warren Street Gallery in Hudson, New York City (2017); and Sunset, Saudade Station at Devening Projects in Chicago, Illinois (2017).
Group exhibitions that have shown Sullivan’s work have taken place at: Chris Sharp Gallery in Los Angeles, California (2021); Slow and Everywhere Like Breath at Markus Luettgen Gallery in Düsseldorf, Germany (2020); Solitude at Shrine Gallery in New York City (2020); Ute Parduhn Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany (2018); Mon Oncle at Museum for Drawing in Hunningen, Belgium (2017); and We’ll turn Manhattan into an island of joy at Markus Luttgen Gallery in Cologne, Germany (2017).
Sullivan lives and works in Hudson, New York.