• Untitled Blue
  • Untitled
  • Farmhouse Logic
  • A Wilder Blue
  • Untitled
  • Cake V
  • The Lake Project
  • Cake II
  • Landscape With Cup

Gary Komarin (1951) uses color energetically and paints with a sense of urgency, cultivating the unknown through his use of quick-drying materials such as tempera, water-based enamel and graphite. A student of abstract expressionist Philip Guston, Gary Komarin’s works are highly influenced by color field painting, resulting in a balance of carefully constructed images and elegant abstraction.

The subject of Komarin’s vibrant, abstract pieces with bold and delicate strokes is often the process of painting itself. The background for his drips and scrawls is typically a matte surface. This surface of thin paint allows for multiple layers to be viewed at once, bringing to light the complexity of his compositions. He often mixes paint directly on the canvas, and collages paper and postcards into these layers. Although some of his works reference specific images such as cakes or wigs, his preference is to leave forms unfamiliar. "It would be misleading to put a name to these forms.  As a viewer you bring something different to them, depending on your own experience." (Gary Komarin)

Komarin injects a playful side to abstraction, taking gestural mark-making back to its landscape origins. Unlike Kandinsky, however, his abstract landscape is no longer apocalyptic and foreboding as Kandinsky's, but whimsical.

Komarin works with various shapes that create a sense of absurdity and lend themselves to many interpretations. His cake paintings combine the domestic with the architectural, as his upbringing included homemades cake by his mother and a deep appreciation for structural forms from his architect father. His forms often echo the simplicity of children’s art with deceptively simple shapes, recalling children’s experience of seeing things with what he refers to as “a childlike sense of wonder and bafflement.” Innocence meets introspection and philosophy in Komarin’s work. A recurring form in his paintings is a simple loop attached to a vertical line. The noose is a direct reference to the children's word game hangman, which conjures its sinister origins in the public entertainment spectacle of hangings.

Gary Komarin was born in New York to a Czech architect and Viennese writer. He received his BA in Art and English Literature from the Albany State University, then attended the New York Studio School and the Brooklyn Museum School. Komarin carries an MFA in Painting from Boston University. He has received numerous awards, such as the Benjamin Altman Prize in Painting, the Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship in Painting, the Joan Mitchell Prize in Painting and the New Foundation of the Arts Award. Gary Komarin has exhibited in the US, Canada, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. His work is in numerous private collections and is part of the permanent collection of the Arkansas Museum of Contemporary Art, the Jersey City Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Newark Museum and the Newark Public Library.