It is warm in Bologna. It is a city marked by the sun’s soft burn, a red that has across lifetimes bounced off mortar and coated the coffered roofs and cobbled steps. This is a red that survives. It is a lambent color, Paci’s native hue, the same one that rises and encompasses the sky before nightfall in autumn. Like it, the colors suffused in these paintings maintain a thematic quality, a certain mood. They signal a forested reverie, complete with the mythos of a dream.

The advent of nature to Paci, as rendered here, is beyond human immediacy, no longer the metaphor figured as a hybrid between flesh and leaf. An indifferent approach instead marks it, and it is precisely this indifference of nature Paci avows. Presented are non-events; their immensity registers slowly, witnessed by none but the viewer of these candid scenes, each a poetic invention. Deers battle in an empty amphitheater. An immaculate flower appears mid-air, startling a formation of birds as their feathers absorb its colors. Where foxes look upon taxidermy in confusion, yet another painting witnesses a deer detected, escaping by transfiguration as a windswept flower. It is not odd that the manmade structures here remain beaming and intact. It is Paci’s cleverness in keeping them, for destruction is such a human thing.
Nunzio Paci’s exemplary command over anatomy is foremost a vocation. His precise visual figurations of people, flora, and fauna anchor his dreamlike settings. They achieve a remarkable lucidity that not only suspends disbelief but, further, reception. Paci’s realism coaxes both mind and body for spiritual and philosophical clarity through his works. Committed to exploring “the infinite possibilities of life, in search of a balance between reality and imagination,” Paci depicts varying stages of life, death, and ruin—in this latest series, traces of these—as avenues for allegory, toward a humbler understanding of the larger, natural world.

notes by Elo Dinglasan


to view the exhibition catalogue, click here.