Any art can be described, allowing us to approximate the effect of form, color and image upon the viewer. But to some degree each attempt to get close to a work shows where words fall short of vision. The art of Niles Cruz is a lesson in the power of visual experience as a special kind of knowing, beyond the reach of language.


Cruz creates mixed media works that begin with dense, gestural drawings on 8½" x 11" paper, which are scanned and then printed on clear acetate.
This basic description seems paltry when compared to the extravagant results. The work, typically 33" x 43½", are scintillating expanses of lines whose free-form curves, scratches, or controlled linear designs, take on an unanticipated inner logic. Drawings are made to meet or mirror each other, creating a myriad of new forms and patterns. The fields of lines range from delicate traceries to almost expressionist torrents of strokes. The grids of drawing shift subtly with variations in the printing process or change radically with the introduction of new background colors. Cruz creates lyrical works through the play of graphic energy multiplied and sublimated, expanded and interrupted. There are passages of psychedelic intensity and disjunctions that shake the viewer from the interiority of mandala-like designs. While abstract, each work has its own distinctive emotional weather.


John Mendelsohn is a painter who has written articles and reviews on contemporary art for Cover Magazine, ArtNet Magazine, and The Jewish Week, as well as essays for exhibition catalogues. He teaches in the Studio Art Program at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He has contributed to the forthcoming book, A Book of Images: Reflections on Symbols, to be published by Taschen in conjunction with the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism at the C.G. Jung Institute, New York.