The lines of Françoise Sullivan’s paintings vibrate with the warmth of movement; the deep hues are laden with an unconscious world of myth and gesture. She captures within paint the physical energies of the body, an unsurprising fact when one discovers that she was involved in the study, performance, and choreography of modern dance throughout much of her life.
Sullivan's oeuvre of dance, performance, sculpture, painting and writing is distinguished by its philosophical impetus and liberal progressivity. She pursued studies in modern dance in New York with Franziska Boas in the 1940s, and by the 1950s she was an innovative dancer and choreographer. Sullivan was a founding member of a group of artists out of Montréal known as "Les Automatistes", and was a signatory of their manifesto, Refus Global, published in 1948. Her seminal essay, La Danse et l’espoir (Dance and Hope), is the first philosophical text in French Canada on dance and choreography.
The practice of Françoise Sullivan has always been trans-disciplinary, yet she considers painting to be her "essential preoccupation". She created large-scale steel sculptural works in the 1960s and continued her conceptual based practice in painting and sculpture in the 1970s; by the late 1970s, she was fully engaged in her painting practice.
She is in several museum collections including MoMA, NY; National Gallery of Canada; Art Gallery of Ontario; Musée des Beaux Arts, among others. Her work was included in major exhibitions at the Albright Knox Museum, NY in 2010 where she was also a speaker that same year; she was the subject of a one-person exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2010; And she was included in MoMA’s major 20th century summary exhibition, “On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century”, 2011.
Sullivan has received numerous awards, honours with honorary degrees too numerous to mention including: Officer of the Order of Canada (2001); Governor General's Award in the Visual and Media Arts (2005) and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2008).