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Inclusion (left), 2005, Mixed media on board, 40”x46” Click ( right), 2005, Mixed media on board, 41”x43”

“The picture became a screen, illumined by dark light, articulated only by a few colored fields which rise from the ground and sink back into it. These screens of light have nothing more in common with framed pictures; they symbolize the great, unlimited, universal space surrounding us, in which the numen has its place. Only the suggestive, hypnotic power of color determines the idea and content.”

– Werner Haftmann

Brief sketches of what's happening in the Denver art scene.

In the ILK @ Pirate space, the only spot now used by the ILK co-op, is Square¹s: Recent Concrete Painting by Nicholas J. Silici . The ILK room is very small, which means that the shows presented there are also little. But Silici has managed to lend an air of monumentality to the place with his beautifully made neominimalist paintings.

Silici has been showing this kind of work for the last several years. On large squares of board, he applies concrete and oil paint that's then sealed with shiny shellac. The effect of the shellac over the concrete and paint makes his pieces resemble glazed ceramics. One of Silici's great strengths is his sensitive eye for color, like the array of blues seen in "Truth in Numbers" or the sumptuous gray over green in "Natural."

All of the shows at Pirate close this Sunday.
Originally published: April 11, 2002

Working upon past predilections in color-field and minimalist painting, Denver artist Nicholas Silici evokes a non-representational style all his own. Unlike his predecessors, Silici adheres to a natural sensibility inspired by his environs from which to express himself artistically. Integrating an innate sense of color usage in collaboration with a 'sub-surface,' of concrete, Silici summons a complex, textural beauty that defies conventional modes of abstract expression. It is upon the concrete and therein where Silici's layered areas of color are finished with a fine, polyurethane coat resulting in a luster that embellishes the clarity of the composition. The enlarged presence of his shimmering fields of color exists suspended between the geometric square shape, the observer's retina, and the form-giving intelligence of the artist. His emblematic square forms create a circumscribed yet fluid order, keeping our attention intensely occupied in a problematic dualism of structure and chromatic elaboration. Nic Silici's current body of work exemplifies an ongoing passion for the exploration of geometry and landscape through a lens entirely his own.

- Gilbert I. Barrera
Former Director/Curator of the + gallery

Brief sketches of what's happening in the Denver art scene.

The Cordell Taylor Gallery ( 2350 Lawrence Street , 303-296-0927) was originally situated in Salt Lake City ; it moved to Denver in 2001. The gallery maintains a Salt Lake connection, though, and from time to time pairs artists from the two cities. That's exactly what's happening now with sight unseen , an exhibit of works by Denver 's Nicholas Silici and Salt Lake 's Frank McEntire.

These pairings inevitably encourage comparisons, and it's funny, because the Denver pieces seem to always look just right for Denver , while the Salt Lake pieces look right for Salt Lake . This particular duo represents a very odd match; it's safe to say that the work of each artist has nothing to do with that of the other, which is probably why the show is installed so that each has a discretely defined space, with Silici's art up front and McEntire's in the back.

The Silicis represent a continuation of the kind of work this artist has been doing over the past several years. The paintings are neo-minimalist in style, and each sports a horizontal line defining a pair of vertically stacked color fields that, obliquely, at least, suggest the landscape. Though they are very simple and have very little going on composition-wise, what is going on is more than enough to pull them off.

Silici uses a novel technique here. The ground is formed by a skim-coat of fine-grained concrete that's painted with oil and dry pigments. As a last step, he seals it with glossy polyurethane.

The Silici part of the show is very elegant, especially the black and green-gray triptych on the wall facing the entrance. So as you proceed to the McEntire section, you might want to take a deep breath, because it is anything but elegant. "Funky" might be a better description for McEntire's work, a typical example of which is "Vendora" (above), a beat-up Mexican vending machine filled with religious symbols.

Sight unseen , Cordell Taylor's absurd pairing of cool Denver paintings with clunky Salt Lake assemblages, closes on July 19.
Originally published: July 10, 2003

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