This oil-transfer drawing was created in a process that mimics carbon paper. The artist saturates a piece of paper with oil stick pigment and then draws on the back of it with a ballpoint pen using a few elemental instruments—such as a ruler. This transfers the pigment to another piece of found paper the artist puts underneath, which becomes the final work. This labor-intensive process achieves dazzling results; the final drawing/painting looks similar to a circuit board or an architectural plan—and can also evoke early European abstract art.
Sullivan's practice frequently involves adopting a distinct series of limitations. The primitive transfer process he used to create this work draws inspiration from the process of early music recordings; technological limitations during that period resulted in works often overlaid with unintentional yet otherworldly tones. Sullivan's oil-transfer process “records” in paint the lines of his drawings, while also capturing unpredictable marks of chance.
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.
This oil-transfer drawing was created by saturating a piece of paper with oil stick pigment and then drawing on the back of it with a ballpoint pen. The pigment is transferred to another piece of paper the artist puts underneath, resulting in a work that resembles a circuit board or an architectural plan.More