Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman is a self-taught figurative and contemporary surrealist painter who celebrates the hard-earned wisdom of childhood. She depicts subjects that are often young, hauntingly innocent, and teetering on the edge of naïveté. Her painting method combines 14th-century painting techniques, magic realism, and lucid dreams to create pieces that appear to glow from within. These lucid reveries hatch their personas from factors Sullivan-Beeman and her dream environments provoke. She awakens from these dreams, valueless without a critical mass, and dives headfirst into the soup of the collective unconscious. Therein the most ancient realm of the mind, she inherits her stories. “Like water,” Sullivan-Beeman says, “I draw my figures up from the deepest well. The characters in my paintings—and their sidekicks, spiritual daemons—swim among my dreams.”
In this exhibition, Sullivan-Beeman examines heavy water- a rare and lethal substance derived from ordinary tap water that was first produced in 1932 and used for nuclear energy research. Heavy water contains heavy hydrogen, also known as deuterium, that replaces the hydrogen found in tap water.* Used mainly as a component for nuclear reactors and weapons, heavy water combines with Uranium 238 to create nuclear fission. The taste and smell of heavy water is no different than tap water, and one would not notice a difference at first consumption if heavy water were to replace it. This unknown portal is where Sullivan-Beeman invites the viewer to navigate her subconscious environment– exploring concepts of weightlessness, survival, and the mysterious depths of the sea while featuring her recurring characters in roles of perseverance.