reviews

Dennis Byng

Martha Jackson Gallery

Dennis Byng’s chosen medium is faultlessly transparent plexiglass, a material striking in having opposite qualities for different senses. To the eye, plexiglass is so diaphanous as to be invisible; it is literally nothing, in formal terms pure volume. But to the touch it is opaque, impenetrable; in formal terms, it is mass. As “solid void,” then, plexiglass teaches the senses to distrust each other, and in the mild bafflement and wonder which result lies some of the charm of Byng’s work.

Within Byng’s plexiglass occur small perfect slabs of color. These present an interesting comment on much of current sculpture’s concern with making process visible. Floating in an immaculate visual void—the plexiglass seeming to have excluded the artist’s touch as well as ours—the slabs appear to have no provenance whatever, as if not made but dreamed. Rather than trying to make visible their own technical

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