David Amico has been pursuing non-serial abstract painting since the early 1980s. The forms, shapes, and linear elements found in the recent abstract paintings of Amico's Drift-Trace series are derived from the urban detritus drifting through the streets of the Skid Row neighborhood that surround the artist's studio.
Attracted to the abandoned quality and unpredictable nature of these discarded, distressed, wind-blown elements, Amico takes daily morning walks during which he gathers his source material. His paintings, however, do not attempt to depict the social context or random order in which he finds his materials. In his painterly depiction, these objects (fragments of fabric, packaging ties, discarded tape, for example) are transformed into abstract elements from which Amico builds his paintings. The works employ peripheral or collateral material combined with poetic logic.
Blurring formalist boundaries by allowing for observation and representation, design, and non-heroic subject matter, Amico's recent work can be seen in some ways as both inheriting from but also deviating from artistic practices utilizing found imagery and objects. Amico does not usually invent the individual forms he uses but creates the juxtapositions, the context, and the spaces in which disparate objects and fragments are seen. Similar to John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, Amico values the random occurrences that bring materials and fragments into consciousness more than the predetermined systems, theories, and hierarchies that impose thoughts upon consciousness. One significant difference, though, is that Amico does not place his found fragments as-is on a physical support but processes/abstracts/changes every element through the act of painting it on canvas. Amico's approach is collaborative with his environment. He responds to the materials he comes into contact with through its possibility in the context of painting. By doing so, he transforms what has been discarded and considered unsightly into the building blocks of "beautiful" contemplative spaces.