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Catherine Sullivan in "Paradox"
Despite a family background in the visual arts (her mother worked at the famous Los Angeles-based Gemini G.E.L. print studio), Catherine Sullivan was drawn to acting and the theater. “I was always interested in the body’s capacity for signification,” she says. “What was this kind of potential for infinite transformation?” Her interests turned to stagecraft, and eventually evolved into the merging of live theater and filmmaking.
Viewers follow Sullivan from a workshop with actors and students in Poland, to an exhibition space in Avignon, to a Polish-American social hall in Chicago to observe her performance-based films, many of which are influenced by popular film, real-life conflict, or ritual.More information
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Catherine Sullivan’s anxiety-inducing films and live performances reveal the degree to which everyday gestures and emotional states are scripted and performed, probing the border between innate and learned behavior. Sullivan’s appropriation of classic Hollywood filming styles, period costumes, and contemporary spaces such as corporate offices draws the viewer’s attention away from traditional narratives and towards an examination of performance itself. Unsettling and disorienting, Sullivan’s work oscillates between the uncanny and camp, eliciting a profound critique of “acceptable” behavior in today’s media-saturated society.
“I was always interested in the body’s capacity for signification… What was this kind of potential for infinite transformation?”