This last Sunday I made it back to Oak Park for the latest opening at The Suburban, which I experienced for all of twenty minutes before the sky opened and I had to run splashing for cover. While I didn’t have long to spend with the work, both Carl Suddath‘s installation in the small space and Tilman‘s installation in the larger held attention for what time I had.
According to Tilman, his “Substance (for Julian)” was created in part as a kind of memorial piece for the late Julian Dashper and, though the work did incorporate striking spacial elements and break the installation space in an interesting way, it is the blend of collaboration and memorial that makes Substance (for Julian) the compelling work that it is. Though Tilman and Dashper had collaborated in the past, this work comes off as an imagined collaboration in the present, with the artist allowing his memory and close understanding of Dashper’s work and working process to direct the piece. The result is an installation that, despite being about space and abstraction, speaks most strongly to the human and artistic tradition of legacy and influence as memorial.
I found Carl Suddath‘s sculptural installation to be pretty calm and reflective, an exercise in the rather painterly elements of color and light and texture more than form. The two sculptural pieces, one a constructed and painted abstraction and the other a cut and raw piece of wood, produced a balanced and subdued presence within the space. I had a feeling the constructed piece had been made and built and placed so as to take advantage of the light cast through the space’s small window, but with the skies ahead a half-lit softbox there wasn’t much light to work with. Between the colors Suddath employed, the colors of the floor and wall, and the even lighting over it all, everything felt confident and quiet.
The two spaces worked well together, and each was a rare find. I wish I had had the time for the kind of conversations which help inform more layered work like these two, but the weather wanted me see it on its face so I give it a:
Tilman’s “Substance for Julian” / Carl Suddath opened Sunday, September 20th and will run through to Sunday, October 25th at The Suburban, 125 North Harvey Avenue, in Oak Park.
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