The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Reed Fine Art Gallery will present the exhibition Frank Sullivan’s Maine from January 17 through February 19, bringing to campus the oil paintings and pastel drawings of the artist, who hails from Massachusetts and now resides in Aroostook County. The public is invited to attend the exhibition’s reception with the artist, to be held on Friday, Feb. 3, from 5-7 p.m. The reception is being held in conjunction with the Presque Isle First Friday Art Walk.
Frank Sullivan transplanted himself and his family from Massachusetts to Aroostook County in 2006, so he could devote himself full-time to painting. Sullivan said he wanted to escape the temptation of current art trends and be able to work in relative isolation.
His studio, a converted potato storage barn, is where he works in inclement weather and where he also offers classes in drawing and painting. His preference, however, is to work outside his studio, battling black flies, sun, wind and snow.
“I don’t choose subjects for my paintings at all, I simply paint whatever is around me,” he said.
Sullivan sees his works as self-portraits: by immersing himself in his environment, all the elements influence the application of paint on canvas, even though the viewer may simply see a neglected barn or house, or freshly rolled hay bales. By walking the back roads and field around his home, he absorbs the feel and scent of the landscape. One might say that the vistas and amazing sky of the County have gotten into Sullivan’s blood so that he does indeed paint self-portraits.
“Although he did not specifically move to a rural area of the country to ‘become’ a landscape painter, the compulsion to create, the ready access to vast northern Maine vistas and the passion for being outdoors, all came together to inspire Littleton, Maine’s, most prolific landscape artist,” Reed Art Gallery Director Heather Sincavage said of Sullivan’s work.
Sullivan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts (Studio) from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. in 1986. He later attended The American University in Washington, D.C. on a graduate fellowship in printmaking, but left after one semester to pursue a career in music for the next 10 years. He continued to draw, teach drawing and do freelance illustration during those years.
In 1998, he enrolled in the Graphic Design Certificate program at the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, where he studied 2-D design, color theory and advanced drawing under Maggie Fitzpatrick and illustration under Joe Landry. After completing the program and working for 7 years as a graphic designer, art director and illustrator, he and his family moved to northern Maine to focus on his art full-time. He has hosted exhibitions across Maine and Massachusetts and has received several awards for his work.
The reception for Sullivan’s exhibition, which will feature a talk by the artist, will be held in the Reed Fine Art Gallery on Friday, Feb. 3, from 5-7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. There is no charge and light refreshments will be served.
The Reed Fine Art Gallery is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and university holidays. For more information about this event, please contact Sincavage at 768-9611. To learn more about Sullivan and his work, visit www. http://rainbarrowstudio.blogspot.com/.