Scott Lyall evokes the sum of all colours in his very precise Color Ball show.
SCOTT LYALL at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (231 Queens Quay West), to November 23. $5, stu/srs $3, free Wednesday 5-8 pm. 416-973-4949. Rating: NNN
There's a lot to unpack in Scott Lyall's new installation, The Color Ball. It looks like the preparation for a large-scale art bash (like the Power Plant's Power Ball), with set pieces, lighting, chairs and tables wrapped in plastic, bundled on pallets or waiting to be arranged by staff who haven't yet appeared.
Yet each unpacked item is positioned with almost mathematical precision, as if everything were already where it is intended to be.
The Color Ball incorporates elements of seven previous assemblages centring on performance that could also be seen as a series of offhand contemporary art jokes. There's a Duchampian bottle rack not far from a few boxes of wine that recall an installation by Joseph Beuys, and the room is dominated by several low-slung and painted risers, bringing to mind Judy Chicago's massive triangular table in her Dinner Party.
Yet Lyall is as much about allusion and evocation as he is about direct reference. Some clues about what he's doing might be found in the title. "Color ball" is a technical term for the colour coding system used in computer-generated imaging. It is represented by a spherical diagram that incorporates every possible shade and intensity of colour within itself, resulting in the colour black.
In invoking the sum of all colours, Lyall also references the sum of all possible images or objects.
Fair enough, but for all its precisely calibrated ambiguity, this show may be a little too philosophically taxing.