Nico Dios Smith at Andrejev Galleries: Geometry is DNA
A seasoned Abstract Expressionist since the 60s, Nico Dios Smith makes smallish abstract paintings that can reveal emotional and formal depth of the painter's private world. In his restrictive privacy, inner necessity drives his urgent and direct painting method.
Favoring knifed-on impasto oil on linen, it is apparent how Smith feels the impulse to push and trowel paint across the canvas until it solidifies in abstraction and satisfies that inner necessity. Smith generally places his forms in the center of the canvas. Not casual, he purposefully creates a visual dialogue with an imperfect geometry of rectangles and squares that stack, abut, and push against each other. Paint color is important and charged with emotion from the push-pull of juxtaposed color that enlivens form and opens and closes the illusion of space.
Not a minimalist, Smith seeks a visual distillation in his paintings... whether they are about limitless thought or self-imposed personal confinement: visual, emotional, and cerebral...like the distance seen through an open door or an apartment window, a personal loneliness, or the very working distance of decisions between the painter and his canvas. Inviting viewership and knowing how we humans are hardwired with geometry, Smith intentionally calls us to a make our own visual corrections where a rectangle is left less than perfect.
Smith is a lifelong and well-known persona of the Lower East Side from the crest of Abstract Expressionism in the early sixties when he exhibited his paintings at the historic Brata Gallery. During the 70s he was in Oaxacada, Mexico, inspired in painting by his surroundings and exhibiting at La Nao de China in Mexico City. During the eighties when the neighborhood was popularly renamed the East Village, he opened the Nico Smith Gallery in a time when Neo Expressionism was popular. In 2012 and 13 he exhibited his abstract paintings at the Peanut Gallery on East Fifth Street in NYC.