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School of Visual & Performing Arts

Department of Art : The Gallery at the Visual & Performing Arts Center

Jennifer Sullivan

Jennifer Sullivan

Artist Bio

Jennifer Sullivan, of Avon, CT, received a BA in Art History from the University of Saint Joseph. She is an interdisciplinary artist and an art educator, drawing upon her knowledge of art history to inspire and challenge her artistic creation. Her diverse studio practice includes painting, collage, mixed media and printmaking. For her MFA thesis, she created a body of mixed media paintings depicting larger-than-life flowers within interior spaces, as well as a series of monoprints made from a dress.


2021 MFA Thesis

Artist Statement

My journey to art started in a classroom. Art History inspired me to create art that is both visually and conceptually simulating through examining art movements with strong psychological roots. After writing my senior thesis on Kay Sage and her enigmatic use of her fabrics in her paintings to both reveal and conceal what lies underneath, my artwork was never the same. Enthralled with the research on her work and life, I began to reflect upon my own experiences. My obsession with Sage’s fabrics had much to do with my childhood. Growing up with a household of only women, my four sisters and I relished and revolved around playing dress-up. Dumping bags of hand-me-down clothes and sorting through them.

Piles and piles of clothing, layers and layers of paint. Pieces of cut fabric glued down. Fractions of garments symbolize and help me hold onto childhood memories. The texture of lace reminds me of dressing up for church on Sundays. The unique texture of fabric is what fuels my exploration for other tactile subjects such as cement. Cement reminds me of digging in the dirt and planting flowers with my mother and sisters. This garden became yet another symbol, another memory, another childhood experience, and lifelong influence.

My thesis body of artwork depicts larger-than-life flowers within interior spaces. Recently, I have been mesmerized by cut roses in a vase. These roses have so eloquently bloomed and perished right before my eyes. They have been uprooted from their external environment and placed in a new internal one. Watching the lifecycle of these flowers reminded me of our own precious life existence as humans. I thought about my childhood and how I saw each of my sisters grow, bloom and find new roots. At times it has been hard growing without them, so I sort through a bag of clothes and find one that I want to hold onto.