Andrew Lyght Retrospective at the Dorsky | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

Andrew Lyght Retrospective at the Dorsky 

click to enlarge Andrew Lyght, Air-Rights-NYLyght-NY-6136,-2009-10,-Archival-pigment-Inks-and-pencil-on-cotton-photo-rag-paper,-22'x27'
  • Andrew Lyght, Air-Rights-NYLyght-NY-6136,-2009-10,-Archival-pigment-Inks-and-pencil-on-cotton-photo-rag-paper,-22'x27'

In the 1980s and early 1990s, when I was living in New York City, downtown Manhattan was a cauldron of creativity, with neo-expressionism, abstraction, and graffiti art spilling out of the galleries into the streets and clubs. But two of my most memorable art encounters occurred in Midtown: One was an assemblage consisting of a huge blue sail and dangling pieces of bamboo hung in the soaring space of St. Peter's Church, in the Citicorp Building, and the second was a huge mobile-like construction of colored geometric shapes like giant kites floating in the atrium of the new Embassy Suites hotel in Times Square. Both pieces recalled the contemporaneous skewed geometric reliefs of Frank Stella, but their transcendent lyricism, tropical coloration, formal rigor, and vernacular craft were unique.

In 2012, I unexpectedly met the creator of the two pieces, Guyana-born artist Andrew Lyght, who had moved to Kingston after purchasing a former brick mule barn he was restoring as a home/studio. Lyght was an exile several times over: After winning Guyana's top art prize at the age of 19, he moved to Montreal, where he lived for eight years before relocating to New York City. He had his first solo show at the Nassau County Museum, which was followed by commissions for IBM and other corporate clients; his pieces are in the collections of the Pompidou Center, the World Bank, and Smith College Museum of Art.

Upon losing his 8,000-square-foot loft after an extended court battle with his landlord, Lyght left the city and spent much of 2004 and 2005 in Italy before settling in the Hudson Valley. (The $150,000 grant he received from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation funded much of his stay in Europe.) Through all the changes, he never ceased to make art. His five decades of drawings, paintings, installations, prints, and sculpture—categories that in his oeuvre blur and overlap—are now finally getting their due in his first solo retrospective show, "Full Circle," at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz.

The exhibition spans Lyght's work from the circular string-suspended colorful canvas floor pieces that represented his first foray into abstraction in Montreal to his current wall pieces, constructed of a curved piece of plywood, vellum or paper pinned to an underlying wooden crosspiece frame. Each sheet is a shape, painted in fruity, subdued, or earth tones, a palette inspired by his native Caribbean land. Like many of his surfaces, each is covered in an abstract patterned drawing, a kind of coded network that conflates the diagrammatic with the biomorphic and was inspired by the prehistoric petroglyphs in Guyana.

In between is a rich sampling of Lyght's work over the decades. The "Industrial Paintings," glossy, epoxied steel sheaths positioned in a steel post-and-lintel frame (in some works the frame morphs into a sculptural form) and wall or floor-based constructions incorporating 55-gallon steel drums, steel sheathing, ladders, piping, bamboo, and other natural and industrial materials that further push the language of abstract form into three dimensions, are from the 1990s. There are works on canvas or paper covered in rust shapes, made from the oxidization of objects placed on the surface under water, a process he first experimented with in Montreal. More recent works include the Air Rights NY / Lyght NY series, which combine CAD drawing, digital photography, and printmaking to depict fanciful, space-age shapes floating above the New York skyline; each image is covered in a radial pattern of colored-pencil lines, fracturing and divvying up the space, a diagrammatic device that both abstracts the image and perhaps references the calculations of real estate investors. (Lyght notes that after losing his loft, he transferred his studio "into the virtual space of the laptop" and created the computer-generated drawings, which garnered him another prestigious grant.)

Rooted in his childhood experience of the shipyards and multiracial markets of coastal Guyana, Lyght's body of work transcends specificity for an imaginative vision that conflates prehistoric past and gleaming future, the analytical and the mysterious, materiality and flight. His pieces function as both artifact and instruction, a source of sensory pleasure as well as an invitation to a journey. "I have physically deconstructed, altered, and reconstructed the picture plane, the frame, and the compositional elements within that frame to better understand and communicate the dynamic nature of pictorial space," he writes in the sumptuous, comprehensive catalog that accompanies the show. "Each new body of work has explored the limits of the eye by creating an art form that appears to have no fixed boundaries."

"Full Circle" will be on display at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art from January 20 to April 10. (845) 257-3844; Newpaltz.edu/museum.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Carrie On

    • May 1, 2016
  • Parting Shot: Lisa Durfee

    Lisa Durfee’s documentation of unnoticed parts of shabby chic Hudson currently being shown at the Hudson Opera House.
    • Feb 1, 2017

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Giant Tag Sale to Benefit Hudson Chorale @ Private Residence

Giant Tag Sale to Benefit Hudson Chorale

Fri., Sept. 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sat., Sept. 23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. — We receive both used and new donated items in a wide variety...
David Kraai at Rosendale Harvest Festival @ Willow Kiln Park

David Kraai at Rosendale Harvest Festival

Fri., Sept. 22, 5-6:30 p.m. — Come celebrate the local harvest in Rosendale with fine country folk music...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • Olana, with The Ancram Opera House, presents an original play in landscape
  • Olana, with The Ancram Opera House, presents an original play in landscape

    Performing Olana: Frederic Church living his art Olana and Ancram Opera House collaborate to produce a theater performance specifically created to take place in the landscape of the historic site. The dramatic work draws inspiration from Frederic Church’s paintings, letters, family life and the celebrated landscape and is presented as an immersive theater experience in which performer and audience journey together into Church's art. FRI 6PM | SAT 2PM, 4PM, 6PM | SUN 2PM, 4PM, 6PM Member: $10, Non-Member: $15, Family (up to 5): $40
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Fall for Art, Juried Art Show, Sale & Fundraising Reception
  • Fall for Art, Juried Art Show, Sale & Fundraising Reception

    Fall for Art, a juried art show, sale and fundraising reception (hosted by the Jewish Federation of Ulster County) Thursday, September 7th at The Chateau in Kingston, 5:00-9:00 pm, features 29 area artists. Reservations: ($45 p/p) at www.fallforart.org, or 845-338-8131.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Related to Visual Art

More by Lynn Woods

  • Andres Serrano Goes Back to School

    The Andres Serrano retrospective at The School, the spectacular exhibition space established by Chelsea gallery owner Jack Shainman in Kinderhook, is a rare event.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets