(b. 1955, New York City) received a BFA from Copper Union in 1976 and an MFA from Yale University in 1982. He was appointed as the senior critic at Yale in 1994 and became associate dean and adjunct professor in 2005. He also serves as the director of the arts division of the Yale Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk. Messer’s work is in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. He has received awards including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Messer’s oil paintings are highly textured. The Gallery’s Expo Chicago presentation features two oil works. One is from Messer’s classic typewriter series titled Norfolk and features a quote from an early notebook of his longtime collaborator, Paul Auster: “The world is my head. My body is the world.” The other is a never-before-shown large-scale canvas from 1989 titled, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors was made when the artist and his family lived on the canals in Venice, California in 1990. After years of working inside a Brooklyn warehouse, Sam transitioned his studio to his Los Angeles backyard. His neighbor was always partying and his guests would often peer over the fence to watch the artist at work.
Sam recalls, “One night, a young guy gave me a lecture about the paint being bad for my health; I pointed out he was smoking. He laughed and when he asked me to an UFO Convention, I said yes. The young man, River Phoenix, and I became great friends and like Robert Frost I learned a conversation over a fence can become a bridge.”
(b. 1949, Georgetown, Guyana) has been featured in notable exhibitions including solo shows at the Nassau County Museum of Fine Art, Roslyn, NY; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.; Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY as well as the group presentation of Global Arts Africa at the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. Lyght was an artist-in-residence at MoMA P.S. 1, Long Island City from 1978-80. He received major grants from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation in 2010 and the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation in 2004. His work is held in collections including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Jewish Museum, New York; the World Bank Art Program, Washington, D.C.; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.
Lyght’s technique is inspired by his youth spent in the South American nation of Guyana. As a child he was often found on the docks with his sailor uncles, “I was fascinated to look at the waterline where the hull meets the water surface, the rust area, where the paint would chip off and expose the steel causing it to rust. The surface of the huge hull of the ship looked to me as a big abstract painting.” For pocket money, Lyght would fix bicycles as well as make and sell kites thus he developed not only fabrication techniques and skills but also gained a confidence to experiment with non-traditional materials such as twine, bamboo, plywood, oil drums, and metal ladders. These formative elements of childhood memory and ingenuity continue to inform the conceptual basis of his work.
This lifelong fascination with exploring the boundaries of construction has resulted in a fluent approach to his creative process. Lyght describes the freehanded application of his vivid, glyph-like lines as an act of meditation. The fluid drawings appear as an obscure blueprint outlining forms that communicate a significance to an outside or ancient culture. When inscribed upon mechanical objects, these gestures evoke the complex coexistence of organic forms of life within modern industrial structures.
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