Françoise Sullivan 20–21 presents the work the great Montréal artist has produced over the last twelve months. Mainly comprising paintings executed from November 2020 to October 2021, the exhibition once again illustrates the vibrancy and relevance of this indefatigable creator.
Made in a new studio where natural light plays a key role, with their geometric motifs and monochrome or duotone surfaces these paintings take us back to the essence of Françoise Sullivan’s conceptual work, as we have seen it since the early 2000s. Their reflected light and carefully subtle textures, as well as minimalist use of colours, bring to mind the great sensitivity conveyed by the artist on the surface of her canvases since she returned to painting in the late 1980s.
Creating, for Sullivan, is a matter of working in major series of works, often of short duration, but sometimes made up of a large number of canvases. That is the case this year, and the array of paintings on the walls of the gallery show that process, which is specific to the artist, very clearly.
In 2003, Sullivan described her approach in the following terms: “I began to dream of a painting dependent on nothing, and that could hold together through nothing more than its inner force. . . . The thing closest to me, my painting tells a story, it tells the story of small units of time, in the present moment, that is distilled in each thought, each feeling, and each gesture.”
 Françoise Sullivan, “Ma peinture est… ma peinture Est,” in Stéphane Aquin et al., Françoise Sullivan, exh. cat. (Montréal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Éditions Parachute, 2003), p. 42 and 43.
Image: Le grand bleu, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 72 cm