by Mario Naves
New York Observer
June 14, 2004
"Talent at the End of the Line" was the headline for my review of Salvatore Federico's abstract paintings seen last year at the Amos Eno Gallery. After looking at Mr. Federico's recent pictures at the George Billis Gallery, I'm convinced he's moving closer to the front of the line. He continues to capture, contain and distill movement, creating hard-edged, pirouetting forms aligned to a hexagonal grid. You don't need to look at the finely rendered, diagrammatic drawings to intuit how exacting Mr. Federico is in mapping out the proportions of his origami-like shapes it's all there in the work's taut and angular gestures. You do need to look at the paintings to appreciate how the palette punchy, pure and jubilant enriches the compositions, endowing them with emotional resonance.
Ischyrion and Spiridion (both 2004) are atypical paintings in that they feature more than one monumental form; each contains three. The former piece is whimsical, the latter joyous; both make overt their debt to the human form, and they're better off for it. Pictorial variety becomes Mr. Federico. Someone throw him another ball the more he has to juggle, the more exciting a painter he becomes.