Simchowitz is pleased to present Jordan Sullivan: In a Country Without a Name, the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. Sullivan’s paintings appear like moments out of a film, fragments where larger than life figures break their viewers’ sense of scale. This destabilizing element is deliberate, as Sullivan pulls the rug from underneath, removing the easy comfort of looking. His American imaginary is loaded, baren, and desperate. His figures—straggly travelers traipsing through casinos, forlorn punks staring into the distance, boxers in the final round at a match, tired patrons at a dive bar—beg the question what is America? Is this everything? At the same time, these works still dare to wonder what else can it be?
Despite his colorful, fantastical backdrops, the artist’s paintings juxtapose the myth of America and the actual history of America, two histories that developed simultaneously and became tangled. The artist explains that this has made it difficult to tell what is real and what is mythology. His works depict this strange in between, illustrating historical reality even as they put forth quixotic fictions.
Sullivan’s paintings break down spatial distances between people, nature, and buildings. Objects are physically and psychically closer together here than in real life. They appear as a kind of abstraction or a psychic no man’s land, moving their viewer into a space of uncertainty. He creates these landscapes by spilling dye onto raw canvas then layering on paint. Found materials like old soldier duffle bags, seed bags, old paper torn from books are all fair game. Manipulated by time and use, these materials add additional mystery to Sullivan’s already intricate canvases.
In a Country Without a Name opens Saturday, December 11th, 2021, with an opening reception from 10AM - 6PM, and will run through January 8th, 2022.
Jordan Sullivan was born in Houston, Texas and raised in rural Ohio and suburban Detroit. Before becoming a full-time artist, he worked a number of odd jobs in Texas, New York City, and Los Angeles. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.