About Barbara Sullivan’s 2018 exhibition SEASONAL SUITE:
Since childhood, Sullivan has pictured the seasons around the house where she grew up, a big ractangle that housed her large family of origin. January lives on in the corner of the back porch wher the drifts were high. Moving into Spring, the crab apple tree in bloom, and a huge lilac bush that she and her sister, Jane, clipped the inside of to make a playhouse complete with a kitchen. Summer lingers by the artesian well, and around the clothesline near the laundry room. Closing in on Winter by the ski and toboggan hill where many hours were spent packing the snow for the perfect slide. In the gallery room housing the installation, also a rectrangle, Sullivan has used her childhood memory of the seasons as a model for this installation.
The work showcased is a seasonal quartet. The installation of drawings on mylar with shaped frescos attached are excerpts of all four seasons. The work’s imagery is familiar, and about Maine, where the four seasons are distinctly different. The installation also reflects changes and alarms in our environment – both what is suddenly prolific and what is in danger of extinction. Bees, wild turkeys, beavers, plants and other animals all co-existing in a room with four walls, each representing a Maine season – winter being the longest season of all.
A Barbara Sullivan fresco is both strange and familiar, tidy and off kilter, tragic and ebullient. The individual shaped fresco objects work well on their own, but Sullivan often arranges them in narrative, thematic scenarios using the wall as her ground. Her contemporary use of an age old medium places Sullivan’s work firmly in the catergory of painting, yet they are individual bas-relief objects which exist simultaneously as sculpture. Sullivan has successfully bridged these two disciplines, writes Chris Baker for ART NEW ENGLAND. Barbara Sullivan’s work both satirizes and celebrates the monotony of everyday life. Sullivan attended Montserrat School of Art in Beverly, MA and Concept in Portland, ME. She received a B.A. in Visual Art and Creative Writing at the University of Maine at Farmington and an M.F.A. at Vermont College. She has given many fresco workshops at colleges and art centers throughout New England and New York. She currently teaches drawing and painting at The University of Maine at Farmington. In 2007, Sullivan received a Pollock/Krasner Grant and an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Support Grant. Recent group and solo exhibitions include Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, ME, The Maine Biennial of the Portland Museum of Art, in Portland, ME, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME, and Morgan Rank Gallery, East Hampton , NY. “Fresh/Fresco”, an exhibit at Ernest Rubenstein Gallery in New York City, included her work in 2001.