VINCENT COMO 

art of metal como

THE ARTIST At first glance, Vincent Como is an artist only Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel could love. It's like, how much more black could his art be? And the answer is none. None more black. In fact, black is all Como does: his works explore it as a color, a concept, a philosophy, a destination — the void into which we all must perish. As it turns out, black is less of a limitation than you'd think. His palette has ranged from rich shades of ball-point-pen ink, in his early work, to Perylene Green-Black — the same shade used on stealth bombers — which he deployed on a pine coffin in his solo show, "Black Mass," at Boston's Proof Gallery last January. Does he have a favorite shade? A blackest of the black, as it were? "I'm very fond of lamp blacks," he says, "something that's very flat, so it has very little reflection to it, and very dense, so it really sucks the light out of the room."

THE ART Como's Dark Benediction consists of a small painting hanging on the wall — but also, on the floor in front of it, a ring of black tourmaline crystals. The painting uses a channel black pigment, "a very earthy, dense black that comes out of a soot," Como explains. "The way that I apply the pigment is to set it down into a lot of transparent layers and then build it back up, so it's not a thick application with a lot of brush strokes. It's a thin glaze across the surface. And building that up, becoming denser and denser, gives it a visual heft." And the circle? "In new-age circles, black tourmaline crystals are used to repel negativity," he says, "so it ostensibly creates a safe space for you to view this painting from." Much obliged.

METAL CRED Although he admits his progression toward the darkness of black may have been influenced by listening to metal as a teen, Como says, "I don't know too many high-school kids who are making severely non-objective paintings."

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