Delirium, a solo show of new work by contemporary surrealist painter Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman, opens at Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago, IL on Saturday July 9, 2022 (https://bgfa.us). There will be an artist’s reception from 5-7PM. The exhibition, which is curated by Alix Sloan with Sloan Fine Art, will run through August 26. It is Sullivan-Beeman’s first show with the renowned gallery, which is located at 8 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 620, Chicago, 60603.
A self-taught figurative artist, Sullivan-Beeman lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, and Vancouver, Canada. She integrates modified oil and egg tempera techniques of the Renaissance with the evocative genre of magic realism – with layers and layers of meticulous brushwork, her pieces seem to illuminate from within. She uses her personal dream journal as inspiration, exploring Jung’s collective unconscious with an overt curiosity for the occult and the esoteric, especially alchemy, the tarot and spirit animals.
Of “Delirium,” she says:
“This series of work explores the pursuit of love, compassion, and connection with the essential holy feminine. I see the power in love for all people, especially love for each other as women. My first inspiration for the painting ‘Blown About the Sky’ was an empowering feminine Hangman from the Tarot. The Hangman represents the ‘Law of Reversal,’ to reverse the conditions of misery, disease, and failure - the defiance of opposites.
The upside-down position of the figure, and the sense of freefall, made me think about Cuban-American multi-disciplinary artist Ana Mendieta, who fell to her death in 1985 from her New York City apartment building, sparking a controversy about whether she was pushed or not. She surely could not have imagined her resurrection on the wings of the women who uplifted her memory to tell their own stories. I then realized that the model for this piece, who lives in New York, looks so much like Mendieta, which gave me goosebumps, and really sealed the bond here for me.”
Throughout her oeuvre, Sullivan-Beeman examines the lore of the “girl” to empower femininity, question gender roles, and investigate the portrayal of young women in popular culture. She pairs her female figures with their animal guides – daemon spirits – to construct allegorical, fantastical narratives. Sullivan-Beeman’s young women are usually teetering on the edge of naïveté, while also steadfastly powerful and wise. She has said of her work, “I aim to connect the wisdom of living things with the wisdom of the unknown. The collective unconscious joins the contents of my dreams in a magical, subliminal, and deep well.”
Sullivan-Beeman’s career was born out of third wave feminism, and she came into her own in Los Angeles in the 1990s alongside cultural movements including Riot Grrrl, Queercore, and DIY. She holds a BFA in Cinema from the University of Southern California, a pursuit that informs the storytelling aspect of her pieces. She has been exhibited in notable galleries and museums including: KP Projects and La Luz de Jesus in Los Angeles, CA; Haven Gallery in Northport, NY; Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, CA; WMOCA, Wausau, WI: The Belskie Museum of Art & Science in Closter, NJ; Greg Moon Art in Taos, NM; Merlino Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea in Florence, Italy; and Galerie Bruno Massa in Paris, France. She has participated in art fairs such as Scope Immersive 2020, Aqua Art Miami, Pulse Art Fair in Miami, FL; Seattle Art Fair in Seattle WA; LA Art Show in Los Angeles, CA; Art! Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. The international salon ARC (Art Renewal Center) has named her a Finalist in the Imaginative Realism category three times.
“Blown About the Sky” (2022) by Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman