Way to Glow! The Art of Scott McNeill, Arizona Museum for Youth, 2009





What: "Way to Glow!: Scott McNeill"—The remarkable exploration of a new photo-luminescent material made into sculptures that 'glow-in-the-dark' all night long.

When: Oct. 3, 2008 to Feb. 08, 2009

Where: Arizona Museum for Youth, 5 North Robson St., Mesa, Ariz.


Daytime: Scott McNeill's relief wall sculptures resonate with color and ornate imagery.


Nighttime: The sculptures glow in the dark with luminous color all night long.


Scottsdale Artist Scott McNeill Sculpts With Light


For more than a decade, Scottsdale-based artist Scott McNeill has been developing a new multidimensional art form that involves intertwining different layers of composition between ornate relief sculptures and colorful painted imagery. 

This new multidimensional art form has not gone unnoticed; McNeill was the inaugural recipient of New York City's National Sculpture Society's Award for outstanding bas-relief sculpture. More recently, McNeill has developed yet another unique art form by creating colorful relief sculptures that glow in the dark all night long.


Now McNeill adds another dimension—LIGHT


Those who appreciate unusual talent combined with a unique technique will experience a special visual treat when Scott has his third solo exhibition at the Arizona Museum for Youth in October.  "We’re preparing a special showcase for him, complete with black walls, a black-out curtain, and special lighting," says museum curator Jeffory Morris. 

Refining a unique process

"I apply layers of specially prepared glow crystal within the resin itself, and I'm always thinking in terms of both daytime and nighttime color composition.  Some layers of crystal may be an inch deep, overlapping with the colors above to create exciting light effects that emanate from deep within the sculpture.... My priority is to design these glow sculptures for the way they appear in the daytime.  The fact that they also glow all through the night makes them double the work of art," says McNeill.

Scott McNeill's sculpture, "Jungle Boogie" is an ornate vertical relief, packed with glowing creatures.  Off-white daytime branches glow bright violet, sparkle with tiny bright green points of light and are contrast by shadows that glow blue.  The branches create a compositional structure for a dense interweaving of green, veined, yellow-tipped leaves and brilliant tropical flowers, that become perches for glowing monkeys, toucans, parrots, frogs, a three toed sloth, a jungle cat, lizards, snakes and other animals.  Scott McNeill creates movement and leads the eye through each animal's gesture, yell or pouncing towards one another.  "I thought of the composition for Jungle Boogie like a DNA, double helix strand," says McNeill. 


McNeill's symbolism in "Wake Up And See The Light" is profound, Incorporating three different physical planes: underwater, earth and sky.  A man asleep in a small boat is adrift and mounding on a swell that undulates across the sculpture.  In the distance is a rocky promontory and a beckoning lighthouse, but the boat is pointed in the opposite direction.  Above the dreamer, two bright seagulls fly towards land, and like heavenly messengers point the way home.  Below the waters surface the depths teem with activity, bright schools of fish and a coral reef.  "The dreamer is riding the currents of his personal unconscious underworld, unaware of the depths below and drifting away from the light.  ...a metaphor of the modern man," explains McNeill.

While the 'jungle scene' and 'man in boat' are directly narrative, McNeill's Fish Wall is a big explosion of light, color and design.  Fourteen feet wide with seventy two different colored panels, each a multi-colored, brightly patterned tropical fish.  "I design them to hang in smaller sections or to be combined for a large installation that can be any length or height," says McNeill.  

McNeill's intuitive sense of color leads from sculpture to sculpture through every color variation, all complementing one another. The colors glow harmoniously at night, and with more than 50 pounds of super-glow crystal, this exhibit illuminates the entire room.


Enjoying local, national recognition 

McNeill is the recipient of awards from the National Sculpture Society and grants from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation as well as New York City's Artists’ Fellowship. His painted relief sculptures have been sought out by numerous private collectors in the United States and abroad.


Anticipating new challenges

“I’ve been a professional artist for more than 12 years,” says McNeill. (Shortly after finishing his stint in the Peace Corps in 1994, McNeill became an apprentice to master woodcarvers in Honduras, where he perfected his artistry.) “My main focus continues to be my painted sculptures, but I am also eager to develop additional large glow-in-the-dark installations."



Way to Glow! The Art of Scott McNeill

Arizona Museum for Youth,

October 3, 2008. to February 8, 2009.

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