“Outlier,” an exhibition of paintings by 2013-14 Fulbright-Nehru scholar Katherine Sullivan, who is an associate professor of art at Hope, opened at the M.F. Husain Gallery of Jamia Millia Islamia, the “National University” in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, April 16.
The exhibition was inaugurated by the university’s Vice-Chancellor S. M. Sajid. Cultural Counselor from the U.S. Embassy David Mees was in attendance as an honored guest.
The exhibition is open to the public through Monday, April 28. In conjunction with the exhibition, Sullivan will be offering a lecture on her paintings and studio process at The American Center in Delhi on Monday, May 12.
Sullivan is spending the 2013-14 school year in India through an award from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. She holds a teaching appointment at Jamia Millia Islamia for the duration of the grant, and has led a variety of workshops for Jamia’s bachelor’s and MFA students. She is both conducting research on traditions of art in India, and painting during her time in India.
Through her research, Sullivan has been studying the appearance of sacred figures in Hindu art, particularly nāgī deities, and the use of color in Indian paintings and, more broadly, the appearance and application of color across Indian culture.
Regarding the work in “Outlier,” Sullivan’s artist’s statement states:
“Through eliminating identifiable subject matter, such as portrait, landscape, or still life, the oil paintings in ‘Outlier’ focus on the prevalent abstract aspects of different painting styles. Combining the layered, translucent, tonal backgrounds that characterize 18th and 19th century British oil painting with the flat, opaque red border of Pahari and Rajput miniature painting, Sullivan’s paintings explore how particular painting styles are inherently imbued with political connotations. As the relationship between background and border changes, different hierarchical relationships are suggested, not only between East and West, but also between color and value, line and form, and inside and outside space.
“The works on paper reflect on the boundaries between spiritual form and formlessness. Referencing the palette and ritual objects of puja, the paintings focus on how particular objects- threads, statues, cloths, powders-are transformed by religious ritual experience.
“Through the juxtapositions, the works engage questions of appropriation, otherness, hierarchy and the role of contemporary painting.”