Jack Hanley Gallery is excited to present á ùne éa, Sean Sullivan’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The show features new drawings and oil transfers on found paper, oil paintings and salt dough sculptures.
The title of the show, á ùne éa, at first glance like a language similar to French, Spanish or Irish, translates only into the rhythm of phonetic sounds. Abstract and unintelligible, a phrase only meant to be read as sound, it is a slang, a sigh, a shrug. Rhythm and music are the main starting point in Sullivan’s approach to drawing and printmaking, similar to and inspired by early musical recordings. These early recordings not only allow the listener to hear the intended music but also to experience the atmospheric conditions that surrounded the recordings, the marks beyond control.
Sullivan’s work process, in which oil paint is ‘recorded’ through simple transfer processes, is very similar. While color and composition can be chosen with a reliable certainty, the transfer process from one paper to the next leaves room for the unpredictable traces of chance. Beyond the technical aspects of chance, how it is made, how it ultimately turns out regardless of intentions, Sullivan’s process also reflects his personal proclamation and exercise of acceptance of the world and of himself. As it relates to the work, it shows a desire to fall in the space where things are unsaid, unwritten, only implied yet somehow understood. To be present and honest in the process without getting in the way.
Sean Sullivan (b. 1975 Bronx, NY) lives and works in the Hudson Valley, NY. He received the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts Grant in 2017. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, NY; the Markus Luttgen Gallery, Cologne, Germany; and the Museum for Drawing, Huningen, Belgium.
Sean Sullivan Reviewed in Hyperallergic Magazine, April 1, 2018