Gary Komarin : Salina
Jan 17 – Feb 27, 2010
In his second solo exhibition at the Robischon Gallery, internationally known artist Gary Komarin returns with his signature approach toward abstract painting via his authentic, vibrantly-hued, gestural and witty mark. Entitled "Salina", referencing a romantic volcanic island north of Sicily possessing great and unpredictable sudden drop-offs to the Mediterranean Sea, Komarin's exhibition reveals the artist's eccentric, experiential sensibility to the viewer. This distinctive and unique quality was recognized decades ago by the major American painter Philip Guston who wrote about Komarin's work as, "plastic, sensitive and serious". Guston states, "His feeling for line, space and form comprise an innate sense of structure." Komarin's now further seasoned, sophisticated paintings continue to invite his viewers to engage with and investigate their unexpected surface qualities. Fluidly exuberant with freely- painted line, form, color and texture, Komarin's deeply saturated canvases appear improvisational in manner. His surfaces with their dripped color and oddly gestured forms impart the artist's mysterious and personal symbolism. Accordingly, each painting is provocatively titled to invoke quizzical, wondrous narratives. Like the paintings themselves, Komarin's titles such as The Reptilian Brain, Egyptian Hat Trick or In Which the Barron Fallow, often percolate in the viewer's subconscious in parallel with the artist. Both offer a glimpse into Komarin's process; his free-minded and revelatory, intuitive state.
Also included in the exhibition and available for viewing are a selection of Komarin's iconic, stacked cakes. The animated cakes were born out of memory of those baked for him by his mother. Consistently Komarin, another spirited series on paper, playfully entitled "Duke and Wigmore" refers to an appointed meeting site at a London intersection. Masking a strong sophisticated sense while deceptively appearing to be created in a rather haphazard mode – utilizing strips of painted tape, folded grocery bags or drip spills, Komarin says, "I think of my paintings as pre-linguistic...Forms travel and co-mingle through time and space, free from the order of tyranny and reason." This intelligent, yet non-linear approach carries through all of Komarin's work contributing to the artist's recent active exhibition schedule with recent showings in New York, London, Tokyo and Dubai. A museum exhibition is slated for Berlin later this year and another is planned for Germany's Museum Pfalzgalerie in 2011.
In "Selections," Robischon Gallery presents monotypes and prints by the late, noted Colorado painter Dale Chisman along with bronze sculptures by Bay Area Figurative artist Manuel Neri The exhibition continues in the Viewing Room with recent works by three Colorado artists; painter Wendi Harford, and sculptor/installation artist John McEnroe along with Terry Maker who presents the "Haiti Bread Project," a participatory art event to benefit the earthquake survivors through the international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders.
In anticipation of the upcoming September 2010 "Dale Chisman Retrospective" jointly organized by Robischon Gallery and the Center for Visual Art, this current exhibition highlights an intimate representation of Dale Chisman works including a series of large scale, rarely seen monotypes from the estate. Widely considered to be one of Colorado's most significant abstract artists, Chisman's featured monotypes exemplify how the artist's poetic mark- making and sense of composition came to be admired. Chisman's identifiable elemental mark suffused the compositional structures in all of the artist's paper and canvas work throughout his career. His focused exploration of color and form, layered in relation to his drawn almost calligraphic underpinnings, came to define Chisman's unique and bold, yet considered approach toward painting. Highly influential as an artist and a teacher to countless others in the region, Chisman's personal abstract vernacular resonates not only in his own work, but as a legacy through his many students since his passing in 2008.
Pioneering American sculptor Manuel Neri continues to pursue his complex, six-decade dialogue with the human form as his subject. Sculptures begun in plaster or clay, with select bronze castings, each embody the equilibrium between the process of construction and destruction; disintegration and creation. The compelling individual figures each evoke a sense of universalized existential vulnerability that for Neri represents the human condition. With distinguishing surface textures – the lingering marks of the artist's hand – each work captures Neri's recognizable, enthusiastic gestural expressionism. A rare sculptor amongst his peers from the 1950s Bay Area Figurative Movement through the present, curators and collectors have long considered Manuel Neri as a truly preeminent American artist.
Concurrent with his ongoing Denver Art Museum "Embrace!" installation, Colorado artist John McEnroe's recent work further explores his range of free- hanging organic forms made from resin-encased, nylon prosthetic stockings. In the artist's current museum installation entitled The Bathers, three dozen black or white minimal, attenuated sculptures are attached to the ceiling of the architecturally dynamic museum space. The gallery's Viewing Room exhibition features similarly suspended sculptures made by the same process, only each recent piece is entwined and looped onto itself resulting in dynamic, cascading and suggestive organic sculptures. By seeing the familiar in unexpected ways, McEnroe's commitment in the studio to discover new combinations of process, material and meaning continues to push sculptural boundaries.
Colorado artist Wendi Harford explores abstraction in three distinct areas. In considering a range of abstraction from elements of late Modernism to Minimalism to aspects of graffiti-esque or graphic styles, Harford's combinations in paint cover new ground. Investigating Minimalism, she employs a thoughtful and meditative process to her physically adept dripping technique. The resulting surfaces are as exciting in their charged and color relationships as they are in revealing the physicality of the paint itself. In some instances, aspects of graffiti find their way into her brightly hued and active paintings in combination with a gesturally-animated mark or form; in others as the dominant state. Her often large-scale paintings engage elements of architectural dimension with geometric shapes or swirling and animated, cartoon-like imagery. Seemingly playful, the artist's colorful works also suggest the force of nature in a kind of primordial sea- life or other full-born energy. In a recent review, Denver Post art critic Kyle MacMillan stated that, "Harford paints with compelling authority." This same force compels Harford's pluralistic approach and continues to evolve her work in both scale and form.
As part of the artist's "Sacred and Profane" series, Terry Maker has donated her unique shredded-paper sculptural work entitled Testament to be sold, one slice at a time, as the "Haiti Bread Project." All proceeds will be donated to the international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders in support of earthquake-shattered Haiti. Each bread slice serves as a kind of offering to the indomitable human spirit and as a testament to the citizens of the world uniting for the common good in the face of tragedy. This project is made possible by the generosity of Terry Maker in conjunction with the Robischon Gallery.