Continuing through October 22, 2011
Nic Nicosia’s work, “I See Light,” is so splendid it should start bar fights. Composed of twenty highly geometrical and gorgeously lit pieces, the work features circles and squares as repetitive motifs. They occupy individual rooms that become tropes for memory, lithe bodily movements and heaping emotion. We’re reminded that visual space is freighted with psychological heft.
I have no idea how heaping filigree in an eerily green room is transfigured into the stuff of Jungian undertow, but Nicosia does it. We’re shown a room with a light overhead and a rectangular panel. In the foreground, there’s mounded stuff on the floor circled by brilliant light. Forget Rorschach tests; this is the stuff that makes your mind whirl. It’s an algorithm for calculating the things numbers can’t describe or keep. It’s Star Trek for thinking folks and, with any luck you’ll surely be beamed up. Other pieces depict coiled light zagging into space, a buzzing golden streak fastened to a wall and a glowing orb that occupies a room, wall-to-wall.
How startling, then, to discover that these aren’t rooms at all. They’re identical stage sets Nicosia made magical with the aid of mere handyman-ish stuff. Ping pong balls, nails, steel washers and wire mesh. They’re closely photographed and so skillfully manipulated that they become as luminous and entrancing as Proustian lanterns. Okay, maybe it’s not worth a bar fight. But this is a good as it gets. Nicosia’s “I See Light” eclipses everything else in the “New Variations” show. Or maybe after seeing it I was blinded and jonesing for another landscape depicting “sacred space” and “divine proportion.” This is a visual feast fit for the art gods.