TURN Gallery is pleased to present SLEEPER a solo exhibition of paintings by Jennifer Sullivan.
“My new paintings of cats came out of watercolor drawings that I have been making over the past two years, which are portraits of my cat Queenie. I have made many paintings of my cat before, but these felt different because they are both specific portraits of her, as well as abstracted vessels for other ideas and feelings. The cat became for me like the horse was for Susan Rothenberg, animalistic self-portraits which grew into open ended abstractions exploring new forms and color.
I like the word sleeper because I usually draw her when she is sleeping. I also like that it is a strange word with varied associations. Cats sleep almost double the amount that humans do, allowing them a lot more time to dream. I think about the idea of a “sleeper hit”, something that is quiet and unassuming, but later on becomes successful and well loved. Also, I think about sleeper cells and the idea of a hidden power that is revealed when opportunity is ripe.
In these portraits, Queenie is often seen from the back. These works examine the unconscious relationship to the parts of ourselves we cannot see - an open window into our dreams. Never posed for our presentation, she is in her own head and body, being exactly herself.”
In the words of Marie Louise von Franz:
The cat in our country stems originally from Egypt, where it was once a divine animal. There, they had a cat goddess who was the goddess of music, sexuality, pleasure in life, and life-embracing feminine fertility. The cat, in contrast to the dog, has never sold its soul to man. It has a kind of egocentric reserve. The cat says, ‘You may stroke me, and you may serve me,’ but it never becomes your slave. And if you annoy it, it just walks out on you. In women's dreams, therefore, the cat often is an image of something feminine, independent and sure of itself, just what modern women so often lack. That's why the cat goddess comes up in women's dreams as a positive model of feminine behavior. It is feminine and, at the same time, very firm, very identical with itself. The cat is not very amiable, but very true to itself.
Jennifer Sullivan is a painter whose practice evolved out of roots in autobiographical performance and video. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include My Pretty Red Heart, HG Gallery, Chicago, IL (2020); Devotional Paintings, Julius Caesar, Chicago, IL (2020); Female Sensibility, Five Car Garage (2020); Exiled Parts, No Place Gallery (2019; and Stretch Marks, Real Estate Fine Art (2018). Sullivan has exhibited widely including group exhibitions at Marinaro, Brennan and Griffin, Rod Barton, NADA NY, and Klaus Von Nichtsaggend. Awards include fellowships with Paint School (2020) and at the Fine Arts Work Center (2012-13), and residencies at the Lighthouse Works, Skowhegan, Ox-Bow, and Yaddo. Her work has been reviewed in the NY Times, Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, and Art Papers. She is represented by Five Car Garage in Los Angeles, CA. Sullivan lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens.