Every Tuesday afternoon, The Curator is showcasing an individual artist recognized for their unique voice, ideas and process. Once a month, a featured artist will be selected by Rebecca Locke, a New York City-based artist and curator, who develops collaborative and artist-led projects.
Len Cicio’s practice hinges on color—and in defining his voice, the artist has embraced the media of color pencils and oil pastel. These are often used in traditional landscapes, of the rural and the natural, of lakes and trees, and yet Cicio depicts the urban, creating urban scenes and forging the structural forms of New York City in wax and color. An exhibition of Cicio’s work is coming soon to Next Door, 813 W. 187th St., Washington Heights.
Cicio’s forms echo his own background in textile design, and the artist cites Vincent Van Gogh’s use of strong, vibrant color in landscapes, and German expressionist artist Lyonel Feininger’s architectural works, as inspiration for his practice. Indeed, Cicio’s forms reflect Feininger’s vistas, aspects of which often appear to be viewed through cut-glass, or stained glass windows, highlighted by the sun. Yet, Cicio’s work is also reminiscent of the Futurists, with their regard for innovtion and the strength of the machine, their delight in the urban, and the man-made. A reverance for this aspect of the city (although these public structures depict twentieth century innovation) radiates through Cicio’s work. His spaces, found under the tracks of the city’s elevated Subways, drawn across bridges, structures, and cavernous, underground subway stations are illuminated and majestic. He creates a sense of a mystical urban space, formed by color.
In contrast to the city of the every day, the tedium of the overcrowded subway journey, the dirt and grime of mass transport, Cicio’s city—a city he knows well—is a city elevated.
Len Cicio lives and works in Manhattan, New York. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Cicio studied textile design; his career designing home furnishings and apparel spanned 20 years. He developed his practice, studying life drawing and techniques in oil painting at The Art Students League in NYC, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art’s Studio Program. Cicio’s work belongs to private collections, has been featured in The Manhattan Times, and is frequently exhibited in Manhattan.
With a background in textile design, Cicio’s landscapes and architectural works reflect an understanding of pattern, texture and form. Cicio’s practice utilizes the mediums of colored pencils, oil pastels, and colored wax to depict the dynamic structural forms of New York City’s elevated subways.
More of Len Cicio’s work can be seen here: