Darks Days and rays of light at Mercer Union
Mercer Union opens a couple of new shows tonight that could easily hav e been paired, mutually concerned as they are with light, and its absence. Days of the Eclipse, in the front gallery, is a group show with works ranging from the quirkily charming (I'm thinking of Euan MacDonald's "Eclipse," a lovely little video piece that represents the cosmic event in endearingly homely terms) to the frankly gorgeous: One of the true gems of the show is a little-known film by Gary Beydler, an American conceptualist who all but abandoned art in the early 70s -- but thankfully, not before he made Hand Held Day, a time-lapse film of his hand holding a mirror, in which is reflected a progression of light and clouds across the mountains, from dawn to dusk. Spectacular.
The back gallery debuts a new film work from Daniel Young and Christian Giroux called 50 Light Fixtures From Home Depot. You might know them better as sculptors, though their film of last year (short title: Every Building in Toronto; the long version is more than my hands can bear typing) marked their first shift in medium. As with that work, the concern here is a vernacular aesthetic, but the subject gives this piece a leg up. Light's unpredictable, even when emanating from mass-produced consumer junk. Don't take my word for it -- go see for yourself.