Schery Markee Sullivan
Max acrylic, mixed media
“You have to believe in magic if you’re an artist.” And laundry on a string. But more on that in a minute.
These paintings hail from a place of magic, refreshing the drama and cynicism of the world with naïveté and hope. Schery Markee Sullivan’s scenes, whether a mother and child, a worry doll, cityscape or cave-like pictograph “instincts,” transcend all cloudiness and illuminate the human spirit, advocating for spiritual porousness.
The mother and child theme appears across any series she’s ever done. For Markee Sullivan, it’s because the mother is the ultimate totem of all emotions at once. “I’ve come to it from the perspective of being the mother and being a child. Every one of us is a child. So when I paint it, I’m painting myself in both places.”
What she’s showing, and what each piece is the manufacture of, is the evolution of her experiences building upon each other concentrically. “Our lives change over time. Will I ever go back to that free joy of that clear landscape? I don’t know. There’s more layers from life. You experience as you age, like a patina. You just keep getting layers—layers of what you do in the world and what the world does in you.”
Her “instincts,” which started in the 70s, and her recent “Brooklyn” series both share these concepts and a clear continuum of the artist’s vernacular. It goes back to laundry hanging on the line. The lightness, erraticism and commonality of it. The line the clothes are hanging on and the lines of their billowing silhouettes live free in her panels. The colors of her work are vibrant and so is the energy coming from within them. The brushes are a phrase of movement. The motions are meaningful, but spontaneous. And the same can be said of the primitive works done over 30 years ago.
“Whatever I paint, it’s not from the outside in, it’s from the inside out. It’s never what I copy from the outside world, it has to come from a place that—it’s almost like the painting’s done already in my head…it’s so immediate.” It is Mozart: A lyrical, impulsive, melodic, sweet and beautiful circus.
See Schery Markee Sullivan’s work at Altamira, Islip, throughout July and at Long Island Picture Frame, Oyster Bay, Aug 23-Sept 30. markeesullivan.com
photo by matt furman