I am curious about man's relationship with the land - our reliance on as well as our changing geography. The decaying out-buildings of the small family farms I lived by as a child stand silently strong amidst soft, ochre wheat fields as white sheets billow on backyard clotheslines as if memories on a string. Similarly, the dunes and harbors of Cape Cod continue to build, erode and evolve with the winds while the strong fishing boats remain tethered to the piers and moorings like time keepers. These images often act as themes in my work - representing the transitions and migrations we go through in life, both alone and as a community. The overlap of the generations and the continuity, the passing down, pouring over or pressing out of the past to see what remains and what we keep. This is similar to my painting process. Often, I allow the painting to take me along while I build up the paint in layers, scrape away areas and make decisions of what to keep and what to destroy - much like the clearing out of our own lives. In the end, I want my works to trigger a response, jog a certain memory or offer a peaceful and familiar solitude of place...as this is where our own, personal geography forms.
Christine Sullivan (b. 1957) is an American artist who paints landscapes and seascapes. Sullivan received her degree from Plymouth State University in physical geography and studio art supplying her with a unique and heightened appreciation for the New England landforms she now paints.
Sullivan was born in Syracuse, NY and grew up in rural Fayetteville (NY) and each summer her family vacationed on Cape Cod. These early years of playing out in the farms and fields near her home or digging for clams in the tidal waters of the Cape set the colors, lights and aromas within her deepest memories and now inspire and inform her work. Sullivan moved to Cape Cod full-time after college and started her career as a cartographer for the Butterworth Map Company where she hand lettered road maps and learned the graphics and publishing business and became intimate with all areas of the Cape as she spent several hours each week driving to meet with each of the town clerks to ensure the maps were accurate and up to date. When she moved back to Syracuse to work for a larger map company she increased her knowledge and skills set in the graphic arts and large-press printing process. Five years later she shifted gears and landed in the cable television business as a graphic artist in the corporate marketing department of Newhouse Broadcasting's cable television entity, Newchannels Corporation. Sullivan's skills expanded into newspaper, radio and television advertising and became fluent with designing national campaigns on the Macintosh and started rising up in the ranks. Concurrently her personal life was expanding as she and her husband, Jim, had a beautiful baby girl in 1991. Christine, now working long hours in the office and even more hours as a new mom, found the perfect release - painting. She would paint in the evening hours and began moving away from her Wyeth-like watercolors to a more abstract approach to her watercolor landscapes and soon a unique and colorful style emerged and she began showing and selling her work.
In 1994, after three of Syracuse's most brutal winters, Christine was one of the first fifteen people recruited to help launch a new cable television network, the Golf Channel, and she and her young family picked up roots and moved to Orlando, FL. Over the next fifteen years Christine had little time to paint but would visit several museums across the United States while on business, returning often to The Art Institue of Chicago where she would sit in front of a large Pollock with a deep yearning. She was even more inspired by the progress her mother, E. Gloria Coffman, was making as a painter on Cape Cod. Her parents had vacationed in East Orleans with their four children (Christine has three older brothers) every summer since 1964 and were able to realize their retirement dream in 1986 when they moved there full-time. Her mom, after a forty year hiatus, once again picked up her brushes and was quickly gaining success. Together, they would gallery hop, review paintings and talk about the art life. Each time, she left the Cape quietly knowing this is what she was meant to do with her life. And she didn't want to wait. A discussion shortly followed and in 2009, her daughter off to college, she walked away from her position as Senior Vice President at the Golf Channel and began her journey as a professional artist.
Christine also decided to leave her watercolors behind and ventured head-on into contemporary oil painting under the guidance of John J.J. Graham at his Hollingsworth Gallery / SECCA School of Art (Southeast Coalition of Contemporary Artists) in Palm Coast, FL. It was here that J.J.‘s passion for the abstract expressionists took hold and she spent an entire year experimenting with various techniques, mediums and tools while studying the works of the masters and committed to painting daily. She began hoarding books on her favorite artists - first it was Wolf Kahn for his color work, Helen Frankenthaler for her almost watercolor-like oils and Milton Avery for his soft approach. Graham also introduced her to the California painters - mainly David Park and Richard Diebenkorn - and an exciting handful of others including Lucein Freud, Emil Bischoff and Frank Auerbach. But when she was able to see and study these painters' works in person at Art Basel/Art Miami she became truly inspired and determined to elevate her game.
Sullivan dug deeper into the studio, became a prolific experimental painter and developed a unique style and pallette. Christine began to reach out to artists on Cape Cod while visiting her parents and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum school (PAAM) proved a savior, as did workshops with Megan Hinton and Cynthia Packard (and more recently with Anne Packard). These rigorous workshops were immensely helpful and she is forever thankful to Hinton for introducing her to the work of Nicolas de Stael who captured her imagination through his love of simplicity, rich texture and unending shades of grey.
In 2011 her work was accepted into several regional group exhibitions including one at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. It was here that she discovered a large painting by Fairfield Porter, a painter she had studied but had never seen in person. This was another turning point as she saw in his work a way to capture the soul of a place through representation while still keeping it in the realm of the expressionists and realized this was to be her intent.
Later that year she was awarded a 4-week artist residency by the Community Arts of Elmira to work on her conceptual "clothesline project" - paintings and sculptures that celebrated the backyards of life in and around the Finger Lakes Region of NYS. She quickly built a new body of work based on the clothesline and in the Spring of 2012 had her first solo show back where it all began - at Hollingsworth Gallery in Palm Coast, FL. In 2013, after several more group exhibitions, the Gargiulo Art Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to support the arts, artists and arts-in-public places, named Christine their "Artist of the Year 2013" and awarded her a solo exhibition and launched her emerging career into gallery representation. In 2015 Sullivan won the Oxford Gallery Award by the Memorial Art Gallery & Museum (Rochester, NY) and a merit-based grant to attend The Vermont Studio Center's month-long Artist Residency program in Johnson, VT. In 2016 Christine spent the month of February at the Vermont Studio Center where she unplugged from the world and began exploring both in the studio and out while researching and visiting the granite quarries in Barre, VT - the largest deep hole granite quarry in the world - and rekindled her love of rocks and local geography/geology.
In addition to representation at Oils By The Sea / Roccapriore Gallery, Christine is also represented by Plum Contemporary Gallery in St. Augustine, FL, maintains studios in both Elmira, NY and Palm Coast, FL and is often found painting out of the back of her SUV while here on Cape Cod, her home away from home. Her works are now found in numerous national and international private collections.
CV / RESUME
2015 VERMONT STUDIO CENTER, Merit-Based Grant, Johnson, VT (attended Feb 2016)
2011 COMMUNITY ARTS OF ELMIRA RESIDENCY - Grant from the NYFA to work on her "Clothesline Project" (Nov 2011)
2015 OXFORD GALLERY AWARD, Memorial Art Gallery Finger Lakes Exhibition, Rochester, NY (Awarded by Juror Michael Rooks, High Museum)
2015 CONTEMPORARY ART AWARD, Southern Tier Biennial, Olean, NY
2013 Named "ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2013" by the Gargiulo Fine Arts Foundation, Palm Coast, FL
2016 "Painting Through Grief", Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT - February
2015 "The Geography of Color", Memorial Art Gallery & Museum, Rochester, NY - August
2011 "The Clothesline As Series", Community Arts of Elmira, Elmira, NY - November
ONE PERSON EXHIBITIONS
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Oils By The Sea / Roccapriore Gallery - Featured Artist Exhibition
2019 Miller-Fenwood Fine Art, Saugatuck/Holland, Michigan, "The Geography of Land & Sea"
2019 Harrison Center SPECK Gallery, Indianapolis, Indiana
2013 Gargiulo Art Foundation Presents: CHRISTINE SULLIVAN, ARTIST OF THE YEAR, Nov/Dec, Hollingsworth Gallery, Palm Coast, FL
2012 Christine Sullivan's The Clothesline Project: New & Selected Works, Mar/April, Hollingsworth Gallery, Palm Coast, FL
SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2019 Oils by The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE Gallery - Represented
2019 411 Gallery, Columbus, Indiana - [IN]Place A Contemporary Exhibition
2017 Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE Gallery - Represented
2017 Plum Contemporary Gallery, St. Augustine, FL
2016 Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE Gallery, Provincetown, MA
2016 Plum Contemporary Gallery, St. Augustine, FL
2015 Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester - 65th Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition
2015 Plum Contemporary Callery, St. Augustine, FL
2015 Roan and Black Contemporary Gallery, Saugatuck, MI
2015 Salvo Art Project (12 Artist Studio & Gallery), Bunnell, FL - Regional Contemporary Group Show
2014 Oils By The Sea / Roccapriore Gallery
2014 Roan and Black Contemporary Gallery, Saugatuck, MI
2014 Plum Contemporary Gallery, St. Augustine, FL
2014 Hollingsworth Gallery, S.E.C.C.A. Members Exhibition, Palm Coast, FL
2013 Memorial Art Gallery, 64th Rochester-Finger Lakes Biennial Juried Exhibition, Rochester, NY
2013 Southern Tier Biennial Juried Exhibition, A Regional Survey of Contemporary Art, Olean, N
2013 Flagler Fine Art Festival, Juried Outdoor Fine Art Festival, Flagler Beach, FL
2013 Hollingsworth Gallery's 4th Annual S.E.C.C.A. Members Juried Exhibition, Palm Coast, FL
2012 Hollingsworth's Art in The Park , The Grand Course Golf & Country Club, Palm Coast, FL
2012 Gargiulo Art Foundation’s The Art of the Bicycle, Hollingsworth Gallery, Palm Coast, FL
2012 Arnot Art Museum, GALLERY GALA 2012 [ biennial invitational fund raiser ], Elmira, NY
2011 Community Arts of Elmira, Artist Residency Exhibition & Artist Talks(2), Elmira, NY
2011 Memorial Art Gallery, 63rd Rochester-Finger Lakes Biennial Juried Exhibition, Rochester, NY
2011 Southern Tier Biennial Juried Exhibition, A Regional Survey of Contemporary Art, Olean, NY
2010 Hollingsworth Gallery's "Abstraction" featuring 10 Regional Contemporary Artists, Palm Coast, FL
PROVINCETOWN / CAPE COD WORKSHOPS
2015 Anne & Cynthia Packard, Painting the Landscape, Three Day Outdoor Workshop at Anne Packard's home/studio, Provincetown, MA
2015 Thomas R. Dunlay Plein Air Landscape Workshop, Seven Day Outdoor Workshop, Nantucket, MA
2014 Anne & Cynthia Packard, Painting the Landscape, Three Day Outdoor Workshop at Anne Packard's home/studio, Provincetown, MA
2014 Thomas R. Dunlay Plein Air Workshop, Four Days, Nantucket, MA
2013 Cynthia Packard, Painting from Life (figure & stills), Intensive Three Full-Day Fall Workshop at the artist studio, Provincetown, MA
2012 Megan Hinton, Representational Abstract Landscape Painting, 5-Day Small Group Workshop at the artist's atudio, Wellfleet, MA
2012 Cynthia Packard, Painting the Figure, Intensive Three Day Small Group Workshop in Artist's Studio, Provincetown, MA
2011 Megan HInton, Representational Abstract Landscape Painting, Provincetown Art Association & Museum School, Five Day Workshop
NORTHERN FLORIDA WORKSHOPS
2013 Harold Garde, Strappo Printmaking Technique 3-Day Workshop, New Smyrna Beach, FL
2012 Tom Gargiulo, Print Making as Painting Artform, Flagler County Arts Workshop, Palm Coast, FL
2012 Kate Miller (MFA University of South Florida), Encaustics, SECCA School of Art, Palm Coast, FL
SECCA SCHOOL OF ART (Southeastern Coaltion of Contemporary Artists, Hollingsworth Gallery, Palm Coast, FL)
2011 Foundational Figure Drawing, Richard Schreiner, (MFA Yale, PHD Art Education Columbia University)
2010 Color Theory with focus on Josef Albers, William (Bill) Brant, (MFA Syracuse, Professor Emeritus Mass Art)
SECCA SCHOOL PRIVATE STUDY UNDER DIRECTOR JOHN (JJ) GRAHAM (6 MONTHS, Palm Coast, FL)
2010 Abstract Expressionism: Oil Painting Techniques, Trouble Shooting & Traditions
> Foundation Work: preparation, palette and premeditation
> All About the Paint: viscosity, value & volume
> Studying the Abstract Expressionists: Hans Hofmann, Richard Diebenkorn, Bay Area Figuratives
> Landscapes as Figures: use of layering, line, shape & color
> Painting the contemporary Portrait: Studying the traditional masters and contemporary works of David Park & Lucien Freud
PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY
1979 BS Geography, Minor in Studio Art, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH