Gardens of Hope
September 16, 2022 — May 6, 2023
Gardens of Hope is the first solo museum exhibition of Wanda Sullivan’s work. She has lived in Mobile since third grade. She loves flowers and is an avid gardener. Most of her imagery comes from her large midtown yard or the campus of Spring Hill College, where she teaches and maintains a studio.
Sullivan received her BFA from the University of South Alabama and her MFA in painting from the University of Mississippi. She has exhibited her work nationally in galleries and museums, including the Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans; Alabama Contemporary Art Center in Mobile; Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA; the Wichita Center for the Arts in Wichita, KS; Santa Clara University Gallery in Santa Clara, CA; and the Xavier University Gallery in Cincinnati, OH.
In Gardens of Hope, Sullivan examines the intersection between the natural world, her gardens, and the effects of climate change. About the flowers and nature featured in her work, Sullivan says, “My flowers are beautiful, but they are monsters—contemporary, biomorphic Frankensteins. They are designed to seduce the viewer and lure them in, just like our dependency on fossil fuels, phones, tablets, and computers do.”
This exhibition helps meet two goals of the Museum’s five-year institutional strategic plan — one, to focus on the art of our place, and second, the art of our time. Wanda Sullivan: Gardens of Hope is generously supported by the Crampton Trust, established by Katharine Crampton Cochrane. The Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Mobile support all Museum exhibitions and programs. Gardens of Hope will be on view at the Mobile Museum of Art from September 16, 2022, through April 2, 2023.
Produced in conjunction with the exhibition, this publication reproduces the artwork in the exhibition and photographs of Wanda’s personal garden where she draws much of her inspiration. Deborah Velders wrote the introduction, and art historian LaVada Raouf provided an essay.
Artwork featured in thumbnail: Purple Gladiolus II, 2021. Oil on panel, 30 x 30 x 2 18 in. Collection of the Artist.