Photo By Susanna Jackson
When I first met her, I recognized Silvi Naci from the black ink adorning her arms and peaking out of the geometric cutouts in her smart black dress. She’s not heavily tattooed, but the few permanent accessories she wears are reminiscent of her intricate, haunting copper etchings that currently hang on the white walls of Voltage Coffee and Art. “All of my etches come from my nightmares,” Naci says. “Many people find them morbid, but they are comforting to me.”
The central image in each of her 31 pieces in her solo show “I Wish I Could Eat You Alive” are taken from bad dreams. She then spins a written narrative around that mental snapshot, and when the story is fully realized, she sits down with a magnifying glass, an etching needle, and a copper plate, and breathes life into the gothic tale. In the finished product, bones, flesh, and insects swarm each frame with precision. Examining them, I am grateful my nightmares are only of looming deadlines.
Given that one of her showcased pieces is of her own grave stone, it’s kind of surprising when you talk with Naci and find her smile is as permanent as the ink on her fingers, her most used words “happiness,” “joy,” and “community.” Her public work is more representative of the cheery demeanor: Her next project is a large scale public installation called The Joining Project in which the Mass Ave bridge will be swaddled with vibrant crowd-sourced handmade crochet and knit pieces and wish tags to offer “warmth and wishes” to Boston. The Joining Project is in part a reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings, her offering at working towards a better Boston. But Naci’s interest in public work also stems in having grown up in Albania where, she says, public art wouldn’t be tolerated.
Naci — who was the first student to graduate with a dual degree in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from Suffolk’s New England School of Art and Design — has her hands in a number of other projects as well. She is an independent curator at local galleries such as the Fourth Wall Project and Distillery, in-house designer and part of the curatorial team at Liquid Art House, as well as a curator and consultant at Depict.com. “And that’s all I’m doing!” she says with a laugh, yet you can almost see the gears turning in her head, planning for the future. Given her moxie and talent, Silvi Naci’s future is looking bright.
I WISH I COULD EAT YOU ALIVE BY SILVI NACI. VOLTAGE COFFEE & ART, 295 3RD ST., CAMBRIDGE. 5.4 – 6.8. OPENING RECEPTION FRI 5.16. 7-9PM/FREE. SILVERYMACHINE.COM
LIQUID ART HOUSE. NOW OPEN. 100 ARLINGTON ST., BOSTON. 617-457-8130. LIQUIDARTHOUSE.COM