The Unexpected in Painterly Abstraction

Many people, whether collectors, curators, gallerist or appreciators of the visual arts, don’t fully realize or realize at all how much the ‘unexpected’ plays a part in painterly abstraction. For me, as I work without a prefigured plan of any kind, the painting leads me as much as I lead the painting. Allowing for wide sweeps of the brush, paint has a tendency, if you allow it, to create movement and drama with relatively little direction. In fact, if you control things and ‘lean’ on the painting, areas of great fluidity can go quite dead. Painters have long known this, but in earlier centuries, when figuration was a desired goal, the end point was to make an image that the viewer could read and understand, whether a barn, a cow, a road, a tree or Jesus on the cross. Mistakes, changes of heart, erasures of sorts, or whatever you choose to call them, were not desired. Picasso and Matisse, amongst others, opened the door to the use of the accident and the unexpected in their work. While both these painters may have had an image in mind, whether a still life or a seated woman in front of a window with palm trees on the beach, they allowed for accidental movements, marks, and gestures to breathe unexpected life into their work. When Komarin paints a painting, he allows for the unexpected and even welcomes it. The drip, the soft edge versus the hard edge, the overlapping planes of color, a tornado of color, a reduction in color — all of these are embraced rather than denied. The painter works with the...

Large & Small

I have long wondered why some artists -whether they be painters, sculptors, photographers, or conceptual artists- choose to work large or small or perhaps somewhere in between. Some of the considerations for working large have to do with physical mechanics and how one navigates the space of a painting. Some artists use ladders or long handled brushes to make the painting itself. There are also issues of moving large artworks around from one corner of the studio to another or storing large scale works. Painting a large painting can be terrifically liberating. It might allow the artist to open up the space of a painting in a way that a small scale piece might not. Working large could encourage a wider arc, a bigger brushstroke or greater stretches of colour. On the other hand, a large painting could be intimidating and can start to feel like being swallowed up by the enormous and cavernous space. Painting a large painting can be terrifically liberating. It might allow the artist to open up the space of a painting in a way that a small scale piece might not. Working large could encourage a wider arc, a bigger brushstroke or greater stretches of colour. On the other hand, a large painting could be intimidating and can start to feel like being swallowed up by the enormous and cavernous space. Working small scale for a painter could allow for great intimacy. One can see the entire canvas in one breath and navigate the surface in minutes rather than hours. A smaller scale canvas can allow for the artist to see the whole and...