Nabil Nahas, a New York artist born in Beirut, shows richly
textured abstract paintings that look like fantastically colored
coral reefs. He blends pure pigment and ground pumice into a
pasty substance that he forms into crusty layers of contrasting
colors. Like some phosphorescent growths in a tropical sea
garden, the fungus-like material is built upon a ground of
canvas covered in dried starfish. Believe it or not.
Orion is an approximately 6 x 5 ft. canvas, whose intricate,
deep blue and green crevices are trimmed by brilliant yellow.
One of the largest and most captivating works on view is Mars
and Venus. Here, bright red and yellow highlights help convey
a sense of obsessive passion suggested by that title.
Nahas's all-over compositions, however, are carefully
calculated to keep such passions under control. My favorite
painting, Mercury, a shimmering quicksilver gray and blue work,
is similarly wild and restrained, a credible messenger of the