Gary Komarin AMERICAN, b. 1951


Eschewing traditional materials in favor of tarps and drop cloths, spackle and house paint, Gary Komarin finds room in contemporary painting for the legacy of Abstract Expressionism. He’s especially indebted to his former teacher Philip Guston, whose expressionistic style carried traces of representation in its biomorphic, vaguely figurative (if entirely unreal) forms. “Guston’s lesson in cultivating the unknown has clearly stuck with Mr. Komarin,” a _New York Times_ critic once wrote. The painter’s preference for quick-drying mediums forces him to work quickly and energetically, but not without consideration, developing an abstract iconography all his own. “Gary Komarin does in his paintings what acrobats do on the high wire,” fellow artist Hamlett Dobbins says. “There is a constant balancing act between sophistication and simplicity, between cartoon-like expression and eloquent abstraction.” He won the Joan Mitchell Prize for painting and has exhibited alongside the likes of Robert Motherwell, Larry Poons, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.