Sunday, May 31, 2009

Show Review = Good!

"Biography" oil on panel, 6" square.

The "minumentals" show was reviewed in the Maine Sunday Telegram! Here's an excerpt from the article by Phil Isaacson:

I conclude with a few thoughts about the tiny (6- by 6-inch) paintings of Rob Sullivan. Called "minumentals," they can be seen at Art House, a new venture on Pleasant Street in Portland.
Their size and the familiarity of their subjects remind me of the work of Robert Kulicke, who was the inventor of the now ubiquitous narrow-faced aluminum frame and not by coincidence, a talented painter.
Once each year, back in the '60s, he would offer paintings similar in size to Sullivan's at a very low price. Their sole subject was a single pear, and people would line up in front of his shop on Madison Avenue to buy one. Not acquiring one was one of the few disadvantages of living in Maine.
Sullivan's subjects are a touch more home-like than Kulicke's, but the idea is much the same: a satiric ennobling of the everyday object. Get it down in paint, and it acquires status.
The results are charming. They include a croissant, a folding knife, a piggy bank, a hand container for coffee, a rubber duck, a cupcake – you get the idea.
Look at the painting; it's deft and handsome.

It's fair to say that I'm very happy about this, and that Mr. Isaacson "got" the show. Not that there's much to "get"- I wanted to keep it simple, elegant, and, well... fun. I enjoyed the comparison to Kulicke, a fine craftsman and multitalented individual.

Drew at Art House told me last week that Mr. Isaacson was in to review the show, and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about it. I think most people who paint representationally are wary of art critics. One's laundry is hanging out there for all to see; there are no tricks, no abstractions, no heavy symbolism or editorial comment to hide behind. It's solely one's skill on display, and if you don't have the chops, it may get pointed out to you in print. Yikes.
That said, it's good to keep one's skill level high by painting and drawing as much as possible. I was in the studio this week, in fact, and I revived something that I had let sit idle for a while. I will post it when it's dry! Here's one of Robert Kulicke's: "Four Wedges of Watermelon on a Glass Plate in a Grey-Tan Background." The frame is made by the man himself.

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