Critics’ Picks

Scott Lyall, Black Glass (οἴνοπα πόντον), 2015, UV-cured ink print on ink-infused laminated glass, wood frame, 67 7/8 x 47 3/8".

New York

Scott Lyall

Miguel Abreu Gallery | Eldridge Street
88 Eldridge Street 4th Floor
September 12 - October 25

Light is a fundamental agent in Scott Lyall’s output, acting as both material and subject matter. The series “Black Glass,” 2014–15, includes twelve nearly seamless monochrome panels, each measuring some sixty-seven by forty-seven inches. The somber works are composed of pairs of glass panes, which Lyall has adhered with an ink-infused glue. They are coated with thick black ink on the reverse of the back pane and printed with a color gradient of diaphanous ink on the surface. These treatments ignite a reaction that recalls photographic development (some ambient light passes through the front pane, reflects off the back, and meets the front surface again). Lyall’s conceptual project is trapped between these panes: The light that comes back through the glass is neither reproduction, reflection, or representation, but material reaction.

Lyall’s process-oriented work functions as a compelling analogy for the material agency of images. By engaging light as both a subject and active medium, he points to otherwise-imperceptible aspects of image production—namely, the movement of light and its particle decomposition. It’s striking that this trick is deployed through works that are so serene and seductive, with surfaces so slick and seemingly empty. But this dissonance between elaborate theoretical demonstration and polished art object seems integral to Lyall’s practice.