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Barbara Sullivan: “Forty + Years”

Barbara Sullivan poster image


Forty + Years: A Retrospective

Sept. 29 – Dec. 10, 2022

Flex Space Gallery

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 29th, 4:30-7:00pm

Artist Talk with Barbara Sullivan: Wednesday, October 4th, 5:00pm



Forty Plus Years: A Retrospective presents a selection of oil paintings and fresco works that have been created by Barbara Sullivan over the past 40+ years. A long-time UMF lecturer and University of Maine at Farmington 1996 graduate, Sullivan has worked primarily with the classical technique of fresco, giving it an ironic twist in a contemporary context. 

The four large scale fresco installations on view consider familiar spaces that we inhabit in our daily lives and in our memories, such as a bedroom or a beauty salon. The show will also feature a selection of Sullivan’s oil paintings and a wall of individual fresco pieces which the artist considers to be her “fresco vocabulary,” a bank of objects that may be later included in an installation. 

Historically, fresco was used to paint illusionist images on flat architectural surfaces. Sullivan, instead, makes bas-relief and three-dimensional objects that are effigies of real things. Through her studio process, she distorts and flattens both the forms and the painted surfaces of found objects, creating sculptural renderings that leave the viewer to ponder the nature of everyday objects and the roles that they play in our lives.

Sullivan has been included in several Biennial Exhibitions at The Portland Museum of Art and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.  In 2007, she had her first solo museum exhibition, at The University of Maine Museum, now The Zillman Museum of Art, in Bangor.  Barbara has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in Maine and in New York, including the Morgan Rank Gallery, East Hampton, NY; “Fresh/Fresco”, at The Ernest Rubenstein Gallery; “Off The Wall” at The Hudson Guild Gallery in New York City; and most recently at Safe Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. She has taught Fresco workshops at Colby and Bowdoin Colleges and the University of Maine, as well as the Aspen Institute during their Leonardo Davinci Symposium in 2017.

Sullivan has received the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant and a Pollock/Krasner Grant, and is represented by Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, ME.

Barbara Sullivan-photo of artist in her studio

(Barbara Sullivan in her studio, Solon, Maine, 1999)


Exhibition and related events are free and open to the public.

Published in Exhibitions

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