A Common Treasury // Art Forum   2012

Abigail Reynolds’s “A Common Treasury” has all the promise of a stained-glass supply house, a country library book sale, a garden party, a mine shaft, or a dome, wrought with antiquarian volumes, tinted panes, torn pages, and three-legged tables. Her plates of colored glass lean and screen, changing light just so. Pink amaranth overlays sunburst yellow merging into a lightly toasted orange. Electric blue and wisteria violet combine for an aged International Klein Blue. Lazily leaning against the wall, the panes don’t do all the work: In Magic Mountain (all works cited, 2011) a stack of books partially supports a shapely play of pictures of various mountains into a single peak.

In the center of the main gallery is Off Camera, wherein a few of the colored glass panes display torn pages taped to their smooth reflective surfaces. Each page presents a different picture of people looking: A besuited gentleman in a modern art exhibit rolls up his paper program to peer across the gallery, perhaps toward Reynolds’s other taped-up pictures of crowds in English squares trying to get a better look with their hundreds of periscopes.

'Off Camera' installed at Ambach&Rice

They’re all looking through the glass, in a way, as I am. Picture to picture, the show has a satisfying Christian Marclayish rhythm, but with a speed that’s more Dickensian old curiosity shop than fast-paced cinematic editorial suite. It’s all rose-colored glasses throughout British landscapes, perhaps, but these works play quiet, pleasing games, showing us just how much can change with a suffusion of color, or a shift of lens. 

Andrew Berardini