Andrew Lyght: Charting Spatial Wonders

By Beckenstein, Joyce | Sculpture, November 2016 | Go to article overview

Andrew Lyght: Charting Spatial Wonders


Beckenstein, Joyce, Sculpture


Guyana (which means "land of many waters") is a small tropical country of variegated rivers wedged between Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil. Its capital, Georgetown, is perched on the nation's broad northern coastline, facing a vast expanse of sea and sky. The only English-speaking country in South America, it was first settled by the Dutch, then ruled by the English, who mined its mineral deposits, lush forests, and agricultural potential. Their exploitation of labor supplemented Guyana's indigenous population with an imported workforce consisting first of African slaves and then of indentured servants from China, East India, and Portugal, thereby creating today's rich multicultural mix.

Andrew Lyght was born in Georgetown in 1949. Though his odyssey from his homeland to his present home in the Hudson Valley-the heartland of American art-is a fascinating story in itself, it is also much more. The trajectory of Lyght's intriguing career kaleidoscopically spins through the disciplines of drawing, painting, and sculpture as they engage-and collide- with Minimalism, archaic rock carving, Surrealism, architecture, installation art, and kite-making. More compelling yet, his story returns us to a way of thinking about art, and making art, that recalls the process of Renaissance masters.

Lyght considers himself lucky on many fronts. Raised by a single mother who struggled to earn a living as a seamstress, he values the benefits of growing up in a small, modest country-without television until the 1980s-that, he says, was sufficiently diverse to dissipate prejudice by race or social class.1 This instilled in him an unwavering sense of self and selfrespect. Ethnic diversity also animated the cultural renaissance that flourished around the time of Guyana's independence in 1966, when the country was defining itself as a nation.

By then, Lyght had come to the attention of Edward R. Burrowes (1903-66), considered to be the country's greatest artist. A tailor who went on to study art in London on a British Council Scholarship, Burrowes returned to Guyana as an "inspirational... evangelical teacher disseminating the Western canon of art history and ideas within a local context. His goal was to bring art to the masses of ordinary people," and he realized this dream in the 1940s, when he established The Working People's Art Class.2

Lyght, who ultimately served as Burrowes's apprentice and collaborator, was 13 years old when he began studying with his mentor, whose demanding curriculum emulated Renaissance training methods. Lyght learned many of the same things that Leonardo did when he entered the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, grappling first with the handling of materials, then proceeding to draw, paint, and sculpt. Most important, Burrowes encouraged Lyght to observe the world about him and to study art, both contemporary and historical. But while Leonardo could stroll through Florence to see masterpieces by Masaccio, Fra Filippo Lippi, and Botticelli and stand awestruck beneath Brunelleschi's dome at Santa Maria del Fiore, Lyght could only study reproductions in art history books provided by Burrowes and visit the sights of provincial Georgetown, with its humble post-and-lintel architecture, barebones geometries, and a waterfront lined with battalions of rimmed oil drums. These bold forms contrasted with the vibrant colors of Masquerade festivals, puffs of white sails launching fishing vessels, and strips of crusted rust scoring the hulls of brooding black tankers. Such were the visual memories from which Lyght devised a complex contemporary art of his own, one that, in Modernist language, upholds the Renaissance balance of intellect and passion that he learned under Burrowes.

Lyght's natural gifts were apparent in his earliest paintings. Guyana Masquerade (1968) already asserts a clear preference for abstraction with tangled skeins of line superimposed over an architectural background and faces, arms, and legs hidden within the composition, as if to block out references to representational imagery. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Andrew Lyght: Charting Spatial Wonders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.