Connie Sullivan’s “Ripples Through Time”

November 19th, 2016  |  Published in October/November 2016

Connie Sullivan’s Ripples Through Time stood somewhat as a mystery.  In an unannotated room, you are greeted with only her name, the exhibition title, and the compilation of archival lenticular prints to follow.  Paired two by two, her artwork is staggered through the descending walls of HudsonJones gallery in Camp Washington.   As you weave your way through, you begin to take part in an uncanny exploration of time.

Giving way to cosmic institutions, Sullivan’s work illuminates time on a spatial level.  Inciting abstraction and symbolism, the viewer is invited to indulge in both as they ponder existence, the mundane, and what lies between.  Through stylistic queries and timely processes, Sullivan recounts the past and the future, converging them on a synchronistic plane.

Childs Play and the Cosmos

 

From scratch art (see figure 1) to space travel, you can’t help but see the prevailing (and perhaps serendipitous) ode to nineties phenomena.  The rainbow underlay of Sullivan’s prints gives way to the nostalgic backdrop of every child’s favorite past time.

Ripples Through Time series #6
2015-16, archival lenticular 3-D print
Photo courtesy of HudsonJones

Figure 1, Scratch Art
Photo courtesy of Google images

 

Drawing playful parallels between fine art and craft art, the aesthetic quality of Ripples Through Time series #6 has viewers reaching between the two.  While not necessarily commentating on the nineties era, or adolescence in general, the nature of Sullivan’s work accomplishes something telling of the two: play.  We see her methodology mirror that of a child’s, one of discovery and fortuity.   Paired with her intimations of space and time, we see her work embody the amenable complex of youth and its vibrancy.

Her process, too, is something to be spoken for.  Interactive by nature and kitsch by fault, the lenticular invites the viewer to ‘play’ in all senses of the word.  Flattening, slicing, interlacing, and more, this digital process transforms a series of two-dimensional images into a third dimensional entity.  Now a moving, changing, breathing (not quite) thing, the image becomes much more relational.   The photograph, now dependent on participation, invites the viewer to play, to dance, and to move around to activate its potential.   This refined version of play is seen throughout the body of work and especially here.

The Future Is Here

 

Another tactic employed by Sullivan is her queer matchmaking.  Indigenous meets Internet, we see the transfer of primal imagery into modern processes and technologies.  This convergence of time is experienced in subtle yet perceptible ways.

Ripples Through Time series #9
2015-16, archival lenticular 3-D print
Photo courtesy of HudsonJones

The lenticular (with all of its promise of progress) in fact has its shortcomings.  While holding the ability to set imagery into motion, it can’t do it seamlessly and we see that wonderfully here.  In Ripples Through Time series #9, we witness a telling (or lucky) moment of fragmentation.  The creature caught between one slice and the next is now missing its head while also bearing six legs.  As the image stills before us, we now ponder the creature in a different light, either of science or symbolism.

The evolutionary implications of its adapted appendages beckon the concept of ‘time’ as it pertains to the creation of the world.  We begin to imagine the four-legged creature as six and wonder what it was like before.  If not evolved from, humanity, too, enters the scene, as we see the critter caught in the crux of existence.  It’s once sentient self now beheaded, we begin to think of the colonization as consequence and how that plays a part in the timeline at hand.

The Science of Selfies

 

In its simplest form, photography is product of time and light.  In Ripples Through Time series #1, Sullivan takes us to that elemental level.   Turning the photograph in on itself, light becomes the subject matter.  Minimal and abstract, we now begin to think about light as a concept.

Ripples Through Time series #1
2015-16, archival lenticular 3-D print
Photo courtesy of HudsonJones

What is light ?

What is the color of light?

What is the dimension of light?

Does light have form?

Does light move?

This intrinsic discourse is fostered by the absence of traditional photographic by- products [not] seen in print aboveInstead of contemplating the outcomes of the camera, we now contemplate the elements of a photograph.  It’s a rudimentary lesson in photography, but two-fold, at that.  Sullivan invites the viewer (modern-day-iPhone-possessor) to consider the image free of frivolous implications and cliché formalities, and instead, to think more deeply about the mechanics of the making.    Sullivan invites the other viewer (modern-day-art-degree-possessor) to remember how art can be inclusive and is not meant solely for the educated, the articulate, and the privileged.  Speaking to both ends of the photographic spectrum, this didactic and witty examination takes the modern day person back to the primal roots of art making.

Breeching the third dimension and beyond, Connie Sullivan takes her viewers into time traversed and time illuminated.  Tapping into our inveterate curiosity and prophetic propensities, Sullivan harnesses the possibilities of ‘time’ rendered through a rippled lens.  Engaging in an existential and ethereal discourse, the breadth of the body of work beckons both mind and spirit.  Ripples Through Time is on display now through November 18 at HudsonJones, 1110 Alfred St. Cincinnati, OH 45214.  Hop in your time machine today.

–Hannah Leow

Comments are closed.