The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens with Salomon Contemporary present Gary Komarin: Cakes Stacked/Stacked Cakes, From 24 Cakes at Kit Mandor. Works will be on exhibit through Sunday 4 February 2018.
The most obvious of the recurring images in Komarin’s work is the “Cake” motif that he has used often over the years – sometimes accompanied by the inscription, “cake”, possibly just in case the viewer was unsure what in the world this was. And rightly so. It’s only nominally a cake, after all. If the artist had called it a ziggurat, I’d accept it as such as well. Baked goods are domestic fare, in art-historical terms the stuff of still life; ancient Mesopotamian temples with receding terraced structures are monumental, bespeaking issues of power, time, and history; paintings of these could be classified as “historic landscape” – the French Academy instituted a prize for this hybrid genre in 1817. Because Komarin’s paintings refer to their own internal imaginative scale rather than referring to actually existing objects, he can let them be monumental or intimate as they will. Regarded thus, in cognizance of abstraction, what’s most important about this stacked motif is the way it functions as an armature for the act of painting. Joseph Albers didn’t really have much to say about squares, but he appreciated them for the magic they allowed him to work with color. And, for Komarin too, color is entirely to the point. The “cake” is a stable form, and the linear treatment of a legible image—along with the atmospheric treatment of the off-white surround—allows for a different kind of balance between the painting’s two colors than if they were used in purely abstract forms such as Albers’ squares or Mark Rothko’s more nebulous hovering color fields: the brush stroke, quantitatively less than the surround, dominates and even, so to speak, invades it, whereas another recent treatment of the same motif, there is an equilibrium between the stroke and its atmospheric environs; and in others, the background dominates, almost sucking the form into its own dense ether. – Barry Schwabsky, New York, 2016
Komarin’s most successful works are serial such as Pop Art-like cake images, in which versions of a crudely outlined central image are repeated against a succession of subtle lyrical backgrounds. – Sarah King for Art in America
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 13, 4 – 6 pm
The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens
One Green Hill