the Human Figure

large and small original painted copies are available. 

Here's link to a page of sketches.

Here's some of the coorespondence between myself and a student at the U of Belfast. regarding the nude in art. 

      Thank you very much for writing me. The 
 diversity of meaning available to the nude in art is 
an interesting topic to me and I like your title. 
       I'll answer your questions in order: 
       I've been thorougly trained in the art of 
 drawing the human figure from life. My training as a 
 specific focus began under the tutalage of Janet 
 Cardiff who presented her students with options 
 regarding the body politic. I was taught the academic 
 approach by Herb Hicks. My final year or two of 
 figure study was taught by Robert Sinclair who ran a 
 mediatative class. I spent that time drawing the 
 nude in a daily three hour physical excercise withvery little instruction. 
       In school I had discovered what you have 
 indicated in your title: The human body carries a 
 vast potential and history of meanings. so does the 
 figure painting where things about people are stated. 
The preconcieved  rendition of the human form isalmost 
 irresistably stylized to state something about the 
 human condition. Observational painting, moreover, 
 is a slow meditative approach to making thatstatement. 
      Here are some abstract ideas that have been 
 represented by the human figure: physicality, 
 efemorality, liberty, grace, violence, biology, 
 mortality, fragility, divinity...., an endless list 
 of abstract ideas personified in figure paintings.Once 
 we know we have that ability - What are the ideas we 
 want to express? How do we want to represent 
 ourselves? The questions availavle to the figure 
 artist are literal ones. How does the figure sit? 
 what is its setting? Are the colors true to life, 
 realistic, or are they otherworldly? Should the 
 figure be veiled in darkness, mysterious? should it 
be well lit, available for scrupulous observation, 
exposed, obvious? Lit by the sun or a candle? 
     The process by which I was taught by every 
teacher without exception is that of association. We 
are reminded to place our feet in the same position as 
the models, our hips, our spine, shoulders. By this 
process we impose on our own work assumptions about 
our own humanity. We are taught to be aware of where 
weight falls and tensions sit contrary to the 
sensations of relaxation and lightness. Through these 
means we become resensitized to the business of having 
a body and being alive in one.If you follow the line 
down he face or the arm of one of Freud's subjects you 
can get the idea of how he would go about washing his 
feet, preparing salad, caressing his children. 
       I give some ideological consideration to the 
ideas about cropping. My figures normally outstretch 
the confines of he picture plane. They are suggested 
to exist beyond it. Sometimes they appear to me as if 
they're about to leave. I never crop a figure in such 
a way as to dismember it, but rather, suggest its 
ontinuity beyond the plane of its objecthood. The hint 
of the subject's ability to change or move, I think, 
is important ideologically, and I'll express it with 
lines particular to flesh, describing its maleability 
as opposed to its statuesqueness.     This is a long letter Sarah-Louise. 
    No, painting's not porno. I'll write you a letter 
why if you really get stuck. Porno just doesn't 
comprise of the same language I described. 
Pornographer's don't have the same ieas in mind. Sure 
nude art is sensual and can be even a tool for sexual 
liberation. I'll have to write you later If your still 
researching. If you still need some answers. 

Sincerely,Mike Sullivan 

Here'a link to some recent gesture paintings

Last year Mike had solo shows at Don Giovanni's, Bukowski's (with Jordan Bent), Mecca, Lugz, and Turks and showed at the Roundhouse for the annual collaberative performance peice "Anu." He'll be showing over a dozen books at the Britannia Branch Library in July. He'll also be performing at the Railway Club in May.

7 printmaking methods 1997 
the portrait ongoing 
the 3 minute portrait experiment (25 in a 3 day marathon)2003
the Carnegie Hall Sessions 2001 
 lil' nudes (paint on photograph of large life studies) 1997-2003
pen & ink drawings from t.v. 1994 "Rachmaninoff" & other Composers (very recent work in development) 2003 
portrait of an artist as a young man (& other novels drawn by me) 2000-2002
paintings of C.R. Avery's "A Shotgun Wedding"  2002
the quick brown fox  2002
moonmojo(5 songs) 2003
the diarial adventures of Mickey the Swan 2002 (the late 20th Century . Bop) 1988
a contribution to Jabbar Al Janabi's "Anu"2001
commercial work ongoing 
studies of bus stops  1988
studies of taverns 1988
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