Steven John Sullivan
My first viewing Jackson Pollocks “Blue Poles” as a nine year old, simultaneously shocked, and awoke in me an artistic anxiety. Growing up on a distant rural property, I was forced reconcile the spectacle viewed in the gallery, with the banality of life on a farm. This compulsion to fuse disparate themes, through the lens of two diverse cultures, has been a constant tenet of my work.
This exhibition is a reflection on life in contemporary society. Focused on Hope, an abstract concept with no physical form. Hope an uplifting and essential part of the collective psyche, refuses to be silenced, a belligerent and yet ephemeral artefact, with no provenance.
This body of work explores strategies and mechanisms, and we use to anchor these concepts of hope.
Society takes comfort in entrenched iconography, reinforcing a connection between them, and an environmental order. Reinforcing the familiar with materials, using predominately domestic objects, and iconography as common denominators. These signifiers are then undermined or altered to signify greater relationships.
Interpreting signs, requires familiarity with the codes and conventions. This sense of order and predictability , in whatever form it takes, acts as a filter and shield against the unpredictability and lurking chaos of the outside world.
This body of work is an autposy of the form these shield take, and the narrative that lies between them.
Furthermore my work creates a kind of tension between the way it was originally designed to look, and the way it looks now. However the work does not examine the iconography itself, only our relationship with the referenced material and how that relationship has changed.
The tension and connection between the signs and the viewer is a finally balanced dialogue. Employing a mixture of media and its connotations, using found object and readymades combined with enamels, synthetic polymers with hand ground oil paints.
These textured layers are formed to reference the evolution of previous works. Much of my early work was stencil and enamel on patterned material, this work was informed by the art practises of my Great Uncle and Grandmother, who fostered and facilitated all my early art adventures.
I see the media and juxtaposition of iconography as a vocabulary of emotions and concepts. Altering them is a way of questioning the attitudes, fears, and unwritten rules which have formed society and our behaviour within it.