Daniel Silva Columbian, b. 1982

 Daniel Silva’s oeuvre includes multimedia works, site specific projects, sculpture and installations. The artist’s tactile and imaginative practice is driven in part by the innate quality of his preferred materials including beeswax, carbon, cotton, magnets, metal, plaster, rice, squid ink, and wood. This is a symbiotic artistic process that reflects: “a strong intrinsic relation found in between the materials I use - beeswax, magnets, carbon and metal - with warmth and energy.” 


Overall, Silva’s work is deceptively minimalist, a tendency towards biomorphic imagery and monochromatic palettes creates a graceful and enigmatic orchestration of form. Unexpected pairings of industrial materials with organic byproducts engage the viewer while also deepening an abiding sense of mystery. Indeed, much of Silva’s practice evokes a sense of distilled contemplation. And yet, these inscrutably arranged groupings have a more complex symbolism. The artist shares: “The materials I use are carefully selected for their significance. I’m a beekeeper and find honeybees to be a rich source of insights, both in terms of the material (beeswax) as well as the conceptual (Swarm Intelligence). Swarm intelligence (SI) is the collective behaviour of decentralized self-organized systems such as the beehive. Its applications range from robotics to artificial intelligence.” 


Silva’s practice also specifically refers to the hunger for energy, and what he describes as “the consequence of a shift to an ever increasingly digitized existence. With the climate crisis, our relationship to energy is getting complicated. The work explores intersectional issues of migration and colony collapse disorder while drawing on the larger context of our insatiable energy dependence.”


Silva’s contemporary artwork possesses a uniquely poetic sense of organic and abstract form. This imaginative assemblage reflects upon humankind’s relationship with the natural world. Imprints, traces, empty vessels, the evocation of shadow and the passing of time converge into a body of abstract and minimalist work that is replete with contemporary symbolism and as such serves as a commentary on our relationship with the natural world, ecosystems and technology. 


Rosa JH Berland


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