Jordan Sullivan: At the Corner of Heartbreak & Avalanche

Ampersand is pleased to present At the Corner of Heartbreak & Avalanche, an exhibition of new paintings and sculpture by Jordan Sullivan. His work presents a psychological no man’s land—a place for the displaced. It’s a stage for a disoriented cast of misfits, expatriates, mercenaries, refugees, boxers, alcoholics, drifters, artists and strippers. Each of these characters, real and imagined, seem to be surviving, as if in limbo, within indeterminate and abstracted territories.

In most of Sullivan’s paintings his subjects are surrounded by a constellation of images, colors and textures. Floating roses, burning houses, half-smoked cigarettes, beer bottles, birds, bicycles, sleeping suns, wide-eyed moons, handless clocks, balloons, rain clouds and fragments of text are drifting in spaces both murky and vibrant. Each character and component within these pictures seem to exist as leftovers in a hypnotic world, no longer nameable.

Sullivan’s work is an intentional blend of 19th and 20th Century North and South American folk art traditions. His focus is primarily on found materials—old wood, aged book covers and roughly cut canvas, tarp and drop cloths. His practice relies heavily on salvaging and saving. Surfaces are scavenged from trash cans, found on street corners or in abandoned buildings. These materials, rendered useless by some, are given a second chance in his work.

Raw, immediate, charged with an expressive and urgent quality, Sullivan’s art depicts a grim world that is broken but salvageable. His characters, whether lost in grief, lost in alcohol, alone in a new country or at a crossroads, become testaments to a kind of resilience that has always marked our shared humanity.

Jordan Sullivan was born in Houston, Texas and raised in rural Ohio and Detroit, Michigan. He has worked as a dishwasher, a housekeeper, a janitor, on construction crews and as a graphic designer—jobs he admits mostly being bad at and often being fired from. Recent years have found him in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, where he now lives and works. His new collection of poetry, poems for the morning after, was published by Dead End Books in early 2020.