From afar, McCall’s works might evoke a lighthouse beacon stretching through a foggy night; spotlights on a stage; a light beam beneath a hovering spacecraft; or a portal to another world. In this regard, McCall diverges from his Minimalist peers—he encourages these free-flowing associations, in a way that a staunch Minimalist, striving for a purely aesthetic experience, would not.

“I’ve noticed how many different ways individuals react to the work,” he said. “Some find spirituality in it, some find science fiction, others find other kinds of mysteries.”

It’s fitting that McCall’s first solo museum exhibition in North America is in Buffalo, one of the cloudiest cities in the country. Like an elusive ray of sunlight sneaking through the heavy winter clouds, McCall’s light works, as solid and concrete as they appear, can never quite be grasped. Their warmth is never quite felt. And that is among their mysteries.

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