FARMINGTON — The UMF Emery Community Arts Center is excited to announce its next major exhibit, “Barbara Sullivan – Forty Plus Years: A Retrospective.” The exhibit is on display in the Emery Flex Gallery from Sept. 29­ to Nov. 10.

An opening reception will take place in the gallery from 4:30-7 p.m., Sept. 29. Sullivan will present an artist talk at 5 p.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the Emery Performance Space. Both are free and open to the public.

This solo exhibit presents a selection of oil paintings and fresco works that have been created by Sullivan over the past 40-plus years. A long-time UMF lecturer and University of Maine at Farmington1996 graduate, Sullivan has worked primarily with the classical technique of fresco, giving it an ironic twist in a contemporary context. 

The four large scale fresco installations on view consider familiar spaces that we inhabit in our daily lives and in our memories, such as a bedroom or a beauty salon. The show will also feature a selection of Sullivan’s oil paintings and a wall of individual fresco pieces, which the artist considers to be her “fresco vocabulary,” a bank of objects that may be later included in an installation.

Historically, fresco was used to paint illusionist images on flat architectural surfaces. Sullivan, instead, makes bas-relief and three-dimensional objects that are effigies of real things. Through her studio process she distorts and flattens both the forms and the painted surfaces of found objects, creating sculptural renderings that leave the viewer to ponder the nature of everyday objects and the roles that they play in our lives.

Sullivan has been included in several biennial exhibitions at The Portland Museum of Art and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.  In 2007, she had her first solo museum exhibition, at The University of Maine Museum, now The Zillman Museum of Art, in Bangor.  She has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in Maine and in New York, including the Morgan Rank Gallery, East Hampton, NY; “Fresh/Fresco”, at The Ernest Rubenstein Gallery; “Off The Wall” at The Hudson Guild Gallery in New York City; and most recently at Safe Gallery, Brooklyn, New York.

She has taught Fresco workshops at Colby and Bowdoin Colleges and the University of Maine, as well as the Aspen Institute during their Leonardo da Vinci Symposium in 2017.

Sullivan has received the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant and a Pollock/Krasner Grant, and is represented by Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland (

The Emery Arts Center gallery is located on Academy St. (between Main St. and High St.) in downtown Farmington. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 12-6 p.m. Closed Sundays and holidays. Please check Emery’s website for updates at