Billy Sullivan’s recent paintings is a daringly candid project in which his subjects are rendered emotionally – and oftentimes physically – at their most vulnerable. These paintings, detailing how a fumbled gesture or an innocuous glance can convey a certain mood, exhibit powerful emotional intelligence. When viewed as a group, a striking discourse appears: we catch a glimpse of the uncharted hazards that flow through our everyday lives. It is this sense of loaded pause that intrigues us enough to search for that thing which separates, for instance, longing from despair, or hope from bewilderment.
In the same way that emotional complications and contradictions develop and resolve themselves throughout this body of work, so do particular hues of color. A smudge of lavender may take the place of sunlight at a saucer’s rim or provide white linen sheets with the sultriness of late afternoon. As this lavender is revisited throughout the show, Sullivan uses it as a way to explore the unconscious rhythm one experiences while looking at something unmasked and beautiful.