Bill Sullivan is a New York City based artist who has explored his conceptual themes through mainly painting and photography. His Self-Portraits with Mirrors explores photography’s relationship with the narcissistic tendency to photograph oneself in naked or playful poses usually to post on social media sites or dating sites. Indeed, we tend to disparage such uses of the medium, but what this series also asks us as viewers to consider, is the difference between the anonymous women in these photos and the self-portraits of artists.
Sullivan’s works not only considers the medium of photography and it’s contemporary applications but also that of the interface – the surface – from computer screen to print, and finally as a recognised “art object” in a gallery setting. We have the traditional flat C-prints, but also the juxtaposed Pigment prints on canvas, adding to the surface value where the “noise” of the canvas surface directly interacts with the image allowing a new physical three-dimensionality. This physicality further heightens our viewing experience as the light of the space behaves in a unique fashion with the object itself.
Of course these particular self-portraits are originally shot using a mirror, which is another light-reflecting surface, and serves as an unconscious leitmotif throughout the series that suggests the artist’s intention toward the final outcome.