5 Questions with Jordan Sullivan

Jordan Sullivan writes, paints and photographs, often combining the three in series of works which are technically experimental and look to the natural or outside world. The Texan artist opens The Divine Nothing at LA's MAMA Gallery this week.

Can you tell me a bit about the work that will be shown in The Divine Nothing?
The exhibition consists of photographs, paintings and sound, all of which in one way or another search for meaning and beauty within a void.

You’ve previously said that you don’t see art as something that should enlighten, or offer answers. What is it for you?
It’s everything even if it means nothing.  

Your photographs are often printed using untraditional means. Are you very experimental in the printing stage of a series or body of work, or do you tend to know quite early on how the pieces should be realised?
It’s all trial and error. I’m constantly experimenting and finding new ways to present my work, but aside from being specifically experimental, I really try to listen to the work and let it guide me. Sometimes it ends up going in less traditional directions, but it’s really all about listening and looking and not controlling the outcome as much.

Writing is often presented alongside your art. How do you approach both practices alongside each other — does one feed into another or do they often begin quite separately?
Writing is where so much begins for me. I write every day, so, yes, it’s very linked to my art practice. It’s my way of drawing.

Your presentation of photographic works, often in chapters, mirrors the composition of a book. What appeals about this way of grouping images?
It creates a narrative, or at least it is suggestive of one. I am interested in narratives within art and photography, particularly the connection between abstraction and narration.

‘The Divine Nothing’ will show at MAMA Gallery from 10 December until 21 January 2017