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Tim Sullivan - White Shadows: Exhibition Opening


Sat Sep 13 2014, 3:00pm–6:00pm

Where: EDITIONS by Collectors Contemporary, 21 Orchard Boulevard 01-21 Park House, Orchard Road, Singapore

Restrictions: All ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Collectors

EDITIONS by Collectors Contemporary is proud to announce a new solo exhibition by contemporary San Francisco based artist Tim Sullivan.

Sullivan has a fascinating and unique way of seeing and interpreting the world. His idiosyncratic viewpoint results in powerful and captivating artworks that encourage the viewer to look at their surroundings in new and unexpected ways.

Uniting his practice is a fascination with California and the way it is imagined and represented in film, music, television and literature. Working across various media including video, photography, performance, installation and painting, the artist communicates complex and layered ideas in rich and playful artworks. As well as suggesting diverse and colourful influences, from Duchamp and Surrealism to Warhol and consumer advertising, his work often contains a strong dose of humour. Sullivan demonstrates a deep engagement with the conceptual and visual language of contemporary art and pop culture.

In 'White Shadows,' Sullivan continues to explore his long-held fascination with the west coast of America, In a series of new oil paintings, he paints Hollywood blondes from the early days of the silver screen, including Jean Harlow, Jayne Mansfield and Ida Lupino. Sullivan is fascinated by the way our shared imagination, language, actions and emotions are informed by film. These Hollywood starlets defined different kinds of femininity and created now familiar pop culture terms such as ‘Blonde Bombshell’ and ‘Platinum Blonde.’ They were as famous for their scandalous and often tragic lives as their movie careers. For example, an original sex symbol and screen siren, Jean Harlow died at 26 years of age and Jayne Mansfield was killed in a car accident aged 34. Sullivan continues to explore notions of tragic glamour in his photographic ‘still life’ works that function as contemporary vanitas: the bright beautiful flowers symbolically refer to the passing of time and the transience of nature.

In both bodies of work Sullivan examines perception, light and colour in order to give the viewer a new experience of images. The artist’s work not only makes the viewer think more but also ‘see more.’ In the ‘White Shadows’ series, Sullivan scours vintage images for rare or unseen photographs of Hollywood starlets. He makes a negative photo of the image and then paints this image in large-scale monochromatic oil paintings. Some of the paintings are flocked with a coloured velvet dot. The dot refers to an after-image illusion, where the viewer looks at a dot or an X on an image for a period of time before looking away: they are then able to see the opposite or ‘positive’ of the image. He explains, “I like how one has to "work" to see the actual positive and that positive "burns in" becoming part of the viewer physically...if not just for a few seconds...I like how it physically and directly relates to Duchamp's idea about the viewer completing the piece.”

In his ‘still life’ body of work, Sullivan also plays with notions of illusion and active looking. The bright images steeped in acidic colours are actually negative images. In a labour intensive process the artist stages a tableau of objects. He identifies the negative or opposite colours of these objects and paints the objects in these colours. The final process involves photographing this ‘three-dimensional painting.’ He then prints the photographic negative (rather than the positive) revealing a world where dark is light and vise-versa. In this series Sullivan explains that he “shines darkness” on objects, making white shadows visible and creating “alternate worlds.