My first trip to the Galvin Fine Arts Center was to see Grace Sullivan’s first solo art show, “Dreams to Remember.” Sullivan resides in Madison, Wisconsin, but grew up in “suburbia.” Actually, Woodstock, Illinois, is not a suburb of Chicago, but is a town with its own rich history. The town square was made famous by the movie, Groundhog Day. I saw a great Del McCoury concert at the historic Woodstock Opera House. If you like old-time harmonies, Del and the Boys deliver just the thing with “Get Down On Your Knees and Pray.”
Pardon the musical diversion…
I got to the Morrissey Gallery, at the Galvin Center, and made a slow pass down the hallway gallery. I overheard the gallery curator say the gallery used to be a bank of school lockers. The lockers were removed, and lighting and glass doors installed , to create a neutral and functional backdrop for Sullivan’s diminutive gems.
I revisited all of the work and lingered over several of the pieces that spoke to me. The one titled, Mountain, was one of my favorites, and I was not surprised to see, in lieu of a price, “NFS” (not for sale). The other pieces were priced between $350 and $500: very reasonably priced for original, one-of-a-kind art.
Some of the mixed media collages used cardstock shapes, some included acrylic paint daubs and geometries, or torn images of nature pasted in decoupage flashbacks. I was reminded of the whimsy of Cy Twombly. For more on Cy Twombly, here he is “At His Best.” A couple of the pieces had colorful stripes that recalled Barnett Newman canvases.
Sullivan uses what appears to be domestic images from magazines of the 50s or 60s. She superimposes cardboard cutouts of cloud, tent, or un-classifiable shapes. Besides cut and torn paper, these multi-media pieces also use water-based and oil paints. The foam core mats add depth and protect the 3-D, layered nature of the work. The white frames, combined with the white mats, effectively accent the diminutive work.
This is Grace Sullivan‘s first solo show. Her oeuvre shows maturity and a definite recognizable style, yet each piece has a distinct personality. I wrote in her comments book: whimsy + structure = FUN!
Grace Sullivan‘s show at the Galvin Fine Arts Center runs through December 18, 2013. You can preview her work online, but these small, layered, whimsical pieces are best viewed up close at the Morrissey Gallery, on Saint Ambrose University campus, Davenport, Iowa.
Pictured above: Mountain. (NFS)