Chicago Art Review

Daniel Sullivan @ Monument 2 by Steve Ruiz
December 13, 2009, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Reviews

There is a certain elegance to Monument 2 special among DIY spaces, its high ceilings, stark white walls and glowing, well-maintained hardwood floors lending an edge and hone to the gallery. Fitting entirely with this style, both in its minimalist sheen and provisional underpinnings, comes SAIC undergrad Daniel Sullivan‘s SOFT THROAT, a solo exhibition most remarkable for Sullivan’s making much out of relatively little.

Daniel Sullivan, Untitled

Daniel Sullivan, Untitled

SOFT THROAT hinges on a stock photograph of a bride, digitally manipulated, sliced, and scattered among the pieces included. The majority of work are a kind of mounted collage between these bride photographs printed and fixed, along with carefully cut metallic paper, on surfaces of mostly painted cardboard or, in the above case, three tall stretched canvases. The whole effect of these materials seems to be in creating a kind of trompe l’oeil minimalism, with a strikingly clean facade which, on closer inspection, could have been done on a student’s budget.

Daniel Sullivan, Untitled

Daniel Sullivan, Untitled

There isn’t really much content to the work outside of its material collision with minimalism. I picked up on a quiet eroticism from the anonymous bride repeated throughout the show and the otherwise non sequitur picture of a Sappho sculpture on the promotions, but these are relatively minor themes, either stand-ins for necessary content or, at best, embedded knocks on minimalism’s masculinity. This is one of the rarer cases where explanatory material would have been appreciated, but there’s really none to find and none to be found. When I asked about titles at the opening, I was told with a smile and sweeping gesture that “everything is untitled.” Even as an appreciated satire of style, some basic questions were left unanswered.

Daniel-Sullivan, Untitled

Daniel Sullivan, Untitled

However, I was more than satisfied with Sullivan’s provisional approach to a type of art typified by off-site expert fabrication, exactness and utmost material quality. While great care is evident in the pieces’ production, each plainly betrays its material shortcomings. Sullivan’s sculpture in SOFT THROAT looks like it could have been a candidate for any dull Serra-inspired addition to a campus collection, but chopped together of painted paneling and reflective paper, its materials remove the traditional invincibility suggested by its form.

I give it a:


SOFT THROAT: NEW WORK BY DANIEL SULLIVAN opened December 5th, 2009 and runs through January 24th, 2009 @ Monument 2, 2007 N. Point St.

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