Mary Sullivan - 'Medusa'

Wednesday 14 April - Saturday 1 May 2021 (carried over from COVID-foreshortened March 2020 dates)


This collection is inspired by Theodore Gericault’s iconic French romantic tableaux, Raft of the Medusa. The painting creates a dialogue around abandonment, emotional desolation and physical exhaustion, alongside hope; the power of nature an overarching presence. These human experiences and emotions are not limited to a time or place. Today, many of us identify with a heightened sense of crisis created through callous political systems, constant images of discarded refugees and the ongoing depletion of our environment. We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us. (Julian Barnes 1989).

Sullivan's work is interpretive and expressionist, with charcoal and graphite ideal mediums for capturing the immediacy of an idea, while still maintaining detail. She is equally attracted to the earthiness and graininess of these primal tools. As the artist becomes more intimate with her subject, so she refocuses, seeking to express a range of possibilities sometimes independent of the original narrative. Sullivan searches out meaning in charcoal marks and negative spaces, adding and subtracting, allowing the work and the story it suggests to evolve organically.