In choosing my subject I am searching for the unspectacular. Content can be found in the mundane, meaning contained in the smallest thing, and poetry in the simplest moment. My practice is bound in phenomenology. The work is an act of ingestion and investigation, an embodiment of these acts of consciousness. My focus is directed at the experience with the natural world – its space, time and physicality. My works are drawn and painted to present and reflect upon the prosaic rectitude of the ordinary in order to bring attention to the ignored, the forgotten, and the unseen. It is the microcosms that are entries to greater understandings.
The Form Series explores the associative power of natural forms. By the alterations of scale, placement and context, the forms explored lose their concrete cognitive associations. The resulting images become indeterminate signifiers that viewers may readily associate with a multitude of objects and readings, resulting from their own experiences, and personal narratives. Through simultaneous recognitions, patterns emerge: natural forms beget associations of other, universal possibilities.
This body of work represents natural objects that have been chosen and attended to for their particular, yet unremarkable qualities – objects that at first may seem uninteresting, or homely. These objects have been found lying on the forest floor, nestled in the underbrush, or hidden within a field. I have taken from these moments of decay and destitution a piece, a part, a pittance – a pit, a pod, a seed, a nut; these seemingly insignificant natural entities often evade interest and attention, yet hold, both in sign and function, the alchemy of life.
In a moment of recognizing the beauty that is to be found in the different, the unexpected, and the ignored, we are reminded of our fallibilities of judgment. My hope is that at its least, the work may stand as a prompt or aide-memoire; that value and judgment may be constructs; and that things of import may be in unlikely places, right under our noses, or feet. At its best, it may function to explicate multiplicity of the social order, of difference, in equal regard.
Nature and landscape have long been sources of inspiration in both my painting and print work. I avoid the “heroic, sublime” landscape scenes of past tradition. I am drawn to random spots in the woods, the many missed scenes along a hike, a spot along the road passed so many times by so many people, and the forgotten parcel of land in transition. My recent landscape work explores geography and its import in and influence on the development and negotiation of social structures. Sources of electrical power and power-lines that transverse the landscape teeter between metonym and metaphor, signifying larger power structures. In many cases, signs of the burdens of social histories and events are inscribed in the topography. This melding of time and place illuminates and poses questions surrounding the formation and meaning of various facets of social relationships.
|Nathan Sullivan - Painter/Printmaker | All images are copyrighted 2003-2011|