Katie O’Sullivan moved to Santa Fe three years ago to focus on her career as a painter. What she didn’t expect to happen was to find female figures appearing in her work and see sadness in many of their eyes.
“When we’re out and about in the world, we always put on a happy face,” she says. “So when I saw sadness, struggle and fear in the eyes of the women I was painting, I started looking inside to learn more about myself.”
O’Sullivan displays her latest paintings in the two-artist show “Symbols of Our Inner Truths,” which opens on March 24 at TERRA Santa Fe.
An East Coast gal who studied graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York, O’Sullivan ran her own faux finishing company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for close to a decade. While living in Florida, she also immersed herself in the jewelry world for four years, designing and making her own pieces.
O’Sullivan’s painting career began during the close to four years she lived in a small town in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California. In the back of her mind, she dreamed about painting in Santa Fe.
“My initial work was more abstract than it is now,” she says. “Female figures started emerging while I was creating a series of black and white paintings. Slowly, I began adding color. What I see is that I’m tapping into the subconscious and learning to accept what’s inside. My paintings are about finding the beauty within and being comfortable with where you are.”
Some of the paintings are created with acrylic and gold leaf, while others are made with oils mixed with cold wax.
O’Sullivan shares the show with Mazatl Galindo, an abstract painter and native of Mexico City who draws inspiration from the cultural and spiritual traditions of his Aztec roots.
His most recent work blends archetypal symbols, Mayan cosmology and sacred geometry with images from his Mexican heritage.