Still, Looking. Works 1969-2016
Surface and abyss, lust for life and the transience of youth: these are some of the qualities that make Billy Sullivan’s color-filled intimate, sensual and minutely observed paintings, drawings and photographs of his friends, family, lovers and muses and their worlds so riveting. Since the early 1970s Sullivan has chronicled New York’s underground art and fashion scene with his camera, translating the images into oil paintings, pastel drawings and elaborate multi-part slideshow installations. For this handsome monograph, Sullivan collaborated with Paris-based designer Marietta Eugster to sequence the images non-chronologically into a series of visual chapters. Time bends to memory and association as people and scenes resurface. The book also explores the fluid coexistence of photography within Sullivan’s work by placing his photos alongside his paintings and drawings to reveal his complex process of editing and compression. Defying the passage of time, Sullivan’s work is unabatedly existential in its painstaking observation of casual beauty, desire and love in its every facet—between family members, lovers, fly-by-night acquaintances and kindred artistic spirits. Art critic William J. Simmons places Sullivan’s oeuvre in art historical context and writer Linda Yablonsky fills in some of the particulars of Sullivan’s personal life starting with his youth as a disaffected teenager in 1960s Brooklyn. Billy Sullivan (b. 1946) has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1971. Recent solo exhibitions include kaufmann repetto, New York (2016), Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zürich (2014), Salomon Contemporary East Hampton (2010), and Regen Projects, Los Angeles (2008). Sullivan’s work is held in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Parrish Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum, as well as many public and private collections.
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