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ART IN AMERICA, June 2000: 
‹Nicholas Micros at Trans Hudson›,
by Eleanor Heartney

Nicholas Micros’s cast aluminum and plaster sculptures bear the imprint of his study of figurative and monumental statuary. However, Micros reworks these genres to conjure ghostly mutations of their traditional forms. He evokes mysterious figures with a gesture of draped fabric or an artful arrangement of plaster twigs. Often, his sculptures incorporate castings of everyday objects which, through some mysterious alchemy, are transformed into tableaux suggesting religious groupings, equestrian figures and funerary monuments.

‹Torse Antique› recalls Giacometti. Sticks, fabric and flat planks of wood, all covered with plaster and cast in aluminum, become a figure whose torso seems eaten away by time and the elements. Falling Rider suggests a man with a flying cape astride a horse; the works heroic stance is undimmed by the fact that both rider and mount are cast from somewhat amorphous scraps of wood. Idolatry suggests a figure with raised arms, even though no body parts are clearly articulated. ‹Mirandorla› could be a Virgin Mary, opening her cloak in a gesture of welcome.

However, the work which dominates the show is Horseman. This huge plaster work is composed of draped fabric and casts of found objects arranged over a welded steel armature. The whole piece has been covered with a uniform wash of white lime. The result is imposing and even intimidating. Overall, the sculpture suggests a life-size horse and a draped figure whose outstretched arms end in casts of human hands. But on closer inspection, one becomes aware that the fabric encloses only an empty volume. Meanwhile, poignant details manifest themselves within the larger mass. Casts of sport trophies, a toy train, a saw, a football and a cross are some of the items imbedded in the work, all of them rendered fossil-like by the lime whitewash. The whole ensemble has a sepulchral quality, and it is no surprise to learn that the work was created in memory of the artist’s father, who died last year.

Taken as a whole, the show presented an unsettling take on the academic tradition. Micros’s white and metallic sculptures were scattered throughout the gallery like casts abandoned in a museum or art-school basement. Yet the references which their dessicated forms make to time’s erosion and the vagaries of neglect also provide an organic quality. One feels almost as if these works have emerged from some primordial ooze and mutated like living beings. Lost somewhere between nature and culture, they are haunted by indeterminacy.

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