Deirdre Sullivan-Berman’s “Heavy Water” recently opened last week at La Luz de Jesus. The exhibition will be open to the public through October 27th,with a special artist’s talk and walkthrough with Genie Davis, who will be moderating on Sunday, October 20, 2-4 PM.
Sullivan-Berman creates beautiful, dramatic and dream-like art that births visuals of young women who drift between innocence and their awakening. As a self-taught contemporary surrealist painter, she has chosen the medium of egg tempera, which was popular in the 14th century, to paint her subjects in lavish romantic settings of metaphorical dreamscapes. Her art is a mix of representational art and feminine surrealism or whimsy, which she likes to call “Magical Realism.” Her paintings are steeped in message, but buried in haunting and mythical beauty that proves luminous and enchanting, speaking their secrets to the viewer’s eyes.
Sullivan-Berman puts it this way in her artist statement, “The characters in my paintings—and their animal sidekicks, spiritual daemons—swim among my dreams. Lucid reveries hatch their personas from factors of myself and my sphere. I awaken from these dreams, valueless without a critical mass, and dive headfirst into the soup of the collective unconscious. There, in the most ancient realm of the mind, I inherit stories. Like water, I draw my girls up from the deepest well.” and in another quote, Sullivan-Berman says: “In these works, my girls choose to use this level of immense power for creation rather than destruction.”
“Heavy Water” refers to the idea of a familiar substance like H2O being transformed into D2O, a lethal and dangerous substance that looks like water but holds an undetected deadly power. Heavy Water is essential in the process to create nuclear bombs, the most powerful weapons on earth. Sullivan-Berman’s dialectic harnesses these “girls” from her vivid imagination as powerful symbols of transformation and feminine power.
There is one collaborative work in the “Heavy Water” exhibit with multi-media artist Gina M featured at La Luz de Jesus. Sullivan-Beeman says, “I wanted to play with scale, and have someone be able to walk into one of my paintings. I really want the viewer to experience the whole show and ‘swim’ through the art. These girls are me and I want the viewer to get better acquainted with my world.” The installation will be a six-foot seahorse sculpture set inside the La Luz de Jesus Gallery for all to explore and enjoy. This exhibition brings the luminous and enchanting world of Sullivan-Beeman’s surrealist paintings, birthed out of infinite consciousness and collective thought into view. That is the heart of Sullivan-Beeman’s “Magical Realism.” Viewing hours vary at La Luz de Jesus. M-Th are 11 AM-7 PM, Fri-Sat are 11 AM-9 PM and Sunday is Noon-6 PM.