Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MFA Final Statement

Robert Sullivan
Artist's Statement - 2012

Religare – (from L.) 1. To reconnect. 2. Lactantian root word for 'religion.'

I believe there is a contemporary and profound import in reconnecting to “faith” – that is, faith as a dimension of trust in art, self and society – through a traditional artistic practice like representational painting. The original connection between painting and faith has been slowly worn away since the Renaissance. What was at first religious became romantic, then prosaic, and ultimately, the subject of an ironic cynicism. There is now a conspicuous absence of the faith/art parallel in today's secular discourses. My project is to syncretize painting and its native religious impulse without the burden of the ideologies that have diminished its significance.

Using quotidian images that recall the notion of flight, I endeavor to reframe them as  symbols of spiritual yearning and transfiguration. These recontextualizations do not exist merely as representational surface idioms, but also signify an engagement with the transcendental and how it might be expressed in a contemporary vernacular. The construction of my paintings employ a simple rather than a more baroque presentation, promoting a contemplative space where speculative thought and objective observation might happen. It is in this space where that inherent principle of spirituality in art can still resonate, free from dogmatic doctrines, and offer a reclamation of faith.

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