JENNIFER SULLIVAN – BIG GIRL PAINTINGS – 5 CAR GARAGE – LOS ANGELES
The exhibition “Big Girl Paintings” by New York-based artist Jennifer Sullivan is currently on view at Emma Gray HQ at 5 Car Garage in Santa Monica, California until May 15, 2014. Sullivan’s colorful paintings incorporate three dimensional sculptural elements such as plaster hands, handbags, and fabric.
5 Car Garage is a private exhibition space, not too far from the beach, by appointment only.
New York based artist Jennifer Sullivan calls her working process ‘cathartic and improvisational karaoke’. While singing and dancing she reclaims the past, performing radical makeovers of her source materials, refracting her own experiences and emotions through a variety of found imagery and objects. In her solo exhibition at 5 Car Garage, Sullivan has re-purposed an entire exhibition—or at the very least it’s title, “BIG GIRL PAINTINGS”— by Julian Schnabel at New York’s Gagosian gallery in 2002, which featured enormous portraits of young blond women whose eyes have been covered by raw, horizontal swaths of paint. The series was based on an amateur portrait that Mr. Schnabel found in a thrift store and subjected to his own painterly alterations.
Sullivan — also partial to the occasional thrift store rummage — takes a playful handbag swipe at Schnabel as she toys with both the original context, the historically male-centric art canon, and the artist’s own persona as young woman full of blond ambition. But, unlike Schnabel’s vision, Sullivan’s BIG GIRLS can clearly see — her acknowledgement of her maturity as an artist and the need to step up to the plate after the death of her mother last year. Willingly evoking feminine attributes often seen as negative (soft, wet, sensitive, emotional), Sullivan brings us intimate portraits of her mother, re-makings of her mother’s art, imagined self-portraits, as well as incorporating a variety of personal objects such as casts of fingers and the artists hand along with items she recently inherited.
While grappling with her place in a male dominated art world, the artist also lovingly explores the unrealized artistic career of her mother, an aspiring amateur artist who suffered from Bipolar Disorder throughout her adult life.
This exhibition is dedicated in loving memory to Marian Mingos, née Marian Garber.
Jennifer Sullivan (b. 1978) is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist. She graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, and an MFA in Fine Arts from the Parsons School of Design, New York, NY. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011 and was the recipient of a Visual Artists Fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center (Provincetown, MA) from 2012 – 2013. She has also been awarded residencies at the Ox-Bow School of Art (Saugatuck, MI) and Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY). Solo exhibitions include Adult Movie, Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2011), and One-Week Walden, Freight + Volume, New York, NY (2010). Recent exhibitions include 247365 (Brooklyn, NY), Greene Exhibitions (Los Angeles, CA), CKTV at the 9th Shanghai Bienniale (Shanghai, China), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), 1708 Gallery (Richmond, VA) and Arthouse (Austin, TX). Her work has been reviewed in the NY Times, Artforum.com, and Art Papers, and her videos are included in the Geisel Library collection at the University of California in San Diego. Jennifer Sullivan lives and works in Queens, New York.