Kathy Sullivan : Quiet Discord
June 20, 2009
Caterpillar Art

When I look at a cow, I see black and white spots. When Kathy Sullivan looks at a cow, she sees blue, green, yellow, red, and orange. Kathy Sullivan’s energetic paintings are explosions of color that demand attention. Her palatte must come from a fanciful imagination that has no qualms with leaving reality far behind. For me, Kathy’s bright and surprising color choices created a sense of wonder and left me questioning how a blue dog could look so authentic.

Her unique and vibrant palatte drew me in, but the tension she creates is what makes her work endlessly engaging. Kathy’s work seems to be in a constant battle between holding itself together and exploding off the canvas. Like surface tension trying to keep liquid from overflowing, the paint threatens to come flooding out of the work with the slightest bump. At first, her subject matter and color schemes suggest a playful quality, but after spending some time with her work, I noticed how her strong brushstrokes and high contrast of color give the paintings powerful intensity.

Kathy’s heavy and almost chaotic brushstrokes also create a transient atmosphere. The subjects of Sullivan’s work look as if they may walk right out of the painting. However, her paintings are not action shots. For the most part the figures are standing still, either looking right at you, or directly away from you, but every one of Kathy’s paintings seem to capture a fleeting moment in time. I felt as if the subjects of her pieces and I shared a special moment and we were both on our way.

Kathy Sullivan is represented by Edward Dare Gallery, located at 31 Broad Street in Charleston, SC.