Scott Lyall

Scott Lyall: The Power/Color Ball


On the heels of his participation in SITE Santa Fe’s Seventh International Biennial, The Power Plant presents Toronto artist Scott Lyall’s largest solo exhibition to date. Titled The Power/Color Ball, the exhibition is named after a fictitious gala party reminiscent of the gallery’s annual Power Ball.

Curated by Gregory Burke

On the heels of his participation in SITE Santa Fe’s Seventh International Biennial, The Power Plant presents Toronto artist Scott Lyall’s largest solo exhibition to date. Titled The Power/Color Ball, the exhibition is named after a fictitious gala party reminiscent of the gallery’s annual Power Ball. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a new installation realized under our annual Commissioning Program in partnership with the Toronto-based Partners in Art, a group of supporters of the visual arts. Inhabiting 3655 square feet of gallery space, The Power/Color Ball references works from a range of Lyall’s previous exhibitions. The result is an exhibition that falls somewhere between a survey of past work and an entirely new assemblage. Exposing the dichotomies that arise from our notions of the contemporary gallery space as a site for presentation, the project investigates how art works can be finite and infinite, and how an "art exhibition" can possess symbolic and imaginary functions.
 
The Power/Color Ball draws from seven previous projects where Lyall has used the figure of dance (and, partly, lyric poetry) as an empty sign for material production. These include two solo shows at Greene Naftali, New York (1996 and 1998); the photographic project Belle Epoque; an aaliyah at Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto (2006); a dancer dances at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2006); the little contemporaries, in collaboration with choreographer Maria Hassabi, at the Sculpture Center and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2006–7); and Simple Agonie at Sutton Lane, London (2008).
 
The titles Lyall selects for his projects – a process that he refers to as "graphical assignment" – frequently provide a key to understanding his work’s duplicity. Strange and surprising connections also emerge from the artist’s placement of seemingly disparate shapes, forms, surfaces and images in physical space. The effect is one of improvisation and incompleteness married with calm predetermination.
 
Scott Lyall lives in Toronto and received his MFA in 1993 from CalArts. Previous exhibitions include collaborations with artist Rachel Harrison at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (2006) and with Blake Rayne at Art Basel in 2008.
 
The exhibition is curated by director of The Power Plant, Gregory Burke, following Burke’s selection of Lyall for the 2008 SITE Santa Fe. An 80-page catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published in November 2008.

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