In his paintings and drawings, Jim Sullivan articulates a romantic view of the natural world, depicting both large-scale panoramas and ambiguous close-ups. Beginning his career as an abstract painter in the early 1970s, Sullivan went on to create synthesized landscapes on elongated panels, capturing multiple moments in time. In the painting Source, for instance, the palette shifts from blues and whites to warm hues of red, orange, and yellow, suggesting the same scene viewed at night, dusk, and dawn. While the paintings stylistically recall those of the Hudson River School in their sweeping views of the landscape, the scenes depicted by Sullivan are, in fact, not real places at all, but imaginary ones invented by the artist. By contrast, his drawings are not vast views from afar, as in the paintings, but magnified, intricate details of tree trunks, bark, and branches, rendered in black-and-white.
Sullivan's work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, among others.