Sculpture is something made to stand in an interesting way.

Paul Sullivan: Before Landes Sullivan, my interests were sculpture and design. All pieces below are 1997 - 2003.


Balanced but durable

Balanced but durable

What meaning my work has is wrapped up how successfully I use gravity and balance to make banal materials expressive. Non-precious hardware store materials make the work more familiar, more accessible and human than I’d manage with more crafted or precious materials. If I can make a sculpture gestural and simply graspable, it can say something about chance, risk, urgency, decision and repose which may draw a hopeful and empathetic response from the viewer.

The piece above is about 2.5’ tall, just a piece of 2 x 4 with some saber sawn slots for character. It has some threaded rod running around and through it. Balance and resolution rest with a handful of lead weights hanging off the rod on string. It’s inspired by a wine bottle holder. The rod and weights take the place of the bottle.


This found scrap of vibrant construction barricade needed to be part of a new barricade in a way that suited its reduced circumstances. Then the question became How do you hold up a two legged fragment when another leg or two would look too stolid? Use an anchor. The piece lurches forward, reaching for the 5 pound weight, while at the same time it holds back in a state of calm readiness. There’s a nice sway to it when you gently push down on the wood and release.

This found scrap of vibrant construction barricade needed to be part of a new barricade in a way that suited its reduced circumstances. Then the question became How do you hold up a two legged fragment when another leg or two would look too stolid? Use an anchor. The piece lurches forward, reaching for the 5 pound weight, while at the same time it holds back in a state of calm readiness. There’s a nice sway to it when you gently push down on the wood and release.

It seemed a good idea to connect a couple of lengths of scrap wood with some threaded rod. Once together, it seemed that they’d be more compelling if one piece of wood would seem to lift the other off the ground. Some rocks were needed to counter balance, and they needed something to perch on. Hence the steel strap. To stabilize their staying put, the wood pieces got a second attachment: brass wire. It was hard to get the right tension. Hence the broken bit of wood was used as a Spanish windlass to fine tune. This was left as a visual focal point and to be at the ready should the need arise of further adjustment.  The raised plank needed some bulk to make the other skinny piece of wood more heroic. To give the foam even more heft, I put some gold paint in the etched scribble where the foam had parted ways with the glue that once held it to a practical purpose of cushioning something freshly manufactured.

It seemed a good idea to connect a couple of lengths of scrap wood with some threaded rod. Once together, it seemed that they’d be more compelling if one piece of wood would seem to lift the other off the ground. Some rocks were needed to counter balance, and they needed something to perch on. Hence the steel strap. To stabilize their staying put, the wood pieces got a second attachment: brass wire. It was hard to get the right tension. Hence the broken bit of wood was used as a Spanish windlass to fine tune. This was left as a visual focal point and to be at the ready should the need arise of further adjustment.

The raised plank needed some bulk to make the other skinny piece of wood more heroic. To give the foam even more heft, I put some gold paint in the etched scribble where the foam had parted ways with the glue that once held it to a practical purpose of cushioning something freshly manufactured.


This is a study in overlapping purposes. The vertical was first up. It wanted something to lift or hold up. An oversized, ineffectual cantilever member of threaded rod and wood certainly brought tension and breadth and compositional sweep, but no lift.

This is a study in overlapping purposes. The vertical was first up. It wanted something to lift or hold up. An oversized, ineffectual cantilever member of threaded rod and wood certainly brought tension and breadth and compositional sweep, but no lift.

A guy wire was attached column top to the beam which has a lot of holes documenting attempts to determine the appropriate point of attachment. That point was only determined after a dowel was added to beam to connect to a jam jar anchor of pennies which also required its own guy to hold it in place.

A guy wire was attached column top to the beam which has a lot of holes documenting attempts to determine the appropriate point of attachment. That point was only determined after a dowel was added to beam to connect to a jam jar anchor of pennies which also required its own guy to hold it in place.


The material suggests what to do and I respond and then it suggests again. The wood was once a single squared off length. I cut some rectangles out of it unmindful of the deep longitudinal cracks until the remaining fell to pieces. I stitched 2 pieces together (see upper right). Some threaded rod might be a more muscular way to “repair” the wood, but the rod worked better as a way to accentuate the brokenness. To use the piece of stone counter top as a base required some epoxy. That’d be too final for second thoughts so I cabled the wood to the base. The cable seems to pull the wood pieces outward while the wood seems to pull the base upward. There were no second thoughts.

The material suggests what to do and I respond and then it suggests again. The wood was once a single squared off length. I cut some rectangles out of it unmindful of the deep longitudinal cracks until the remaining fell to pieces. I stitched 2 pieces together (see upper right). Some threaded rod might be a more muscular way to “repair” the wood, but the rod worked better as a way to accentuate the brokenness. To use the piece of stone counter top as a base required some epoxy. That’d be too final for second thoughts so I cabled the wood to the base. The cable seems to pull the wood pieces outward while the wood seems to pull the base upward. There were no second thoughts.

Window from the hallway of 111 First Street Threaded rod vs wool scraps from Vermont. Base alway bugged me. Needed some saber sawing.

Window from the hallway of 111 First Street Threaded rod vs wool scraps from Vermont. Base alway bugged me. Needed some saber sawing.



The L shape piece is from a house building site, a fragment cut away from a pre-fab wall. It has the look of a horse’s head. If the L shape is tilted forward, it suggests pulling. Tying it off to its load or anchor of wood didn’t have the same expressive strain of stapling a length of burlap to the corner of the L.

The L shape piece is from a house building site, a fragment cut away from a pre-fab wall. It has the look of a horse’s head. If the L shape is tilted forward, it suggests pulling. Tying it off to its load or anchor of wood didn’t have the same expressive strain of stapling a length of burlap to the corner of the L.

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