Curves & Stripes in Abstraction and The History of Art

Curves & Stripes in Abstraction and The History of Art

Above: Duke and Wigmore No. 24, 2008 by Gary Komarin   It is a most curious thing how some painters lean towards stripes and others towards curves in the development of their work. Neither is better than the other, they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum. Throughout the History of Art, and that of painting in particular, artists have been using both striped and curved motifs in their work. This was a natural progression as the world itself is filled with both striped and curved motifs. The human body is, needless to say, a bundle of carefully orchestrated curves. Architecture, stone slabs, trees that shoot up to the sky in a straight shot – all have aspects of the stripe, which moves in one direction only and does not bend or twist in its ascent. Some bones in the human body are quite straight, but most curve at some point as they reach their ‘attachment’. Painters began, sometime after the beginning of the 20th century, to choose between stripes and curves. I don’t think this was a communal decision. Rather, individual painters in the privacy of their studio and their own thoughts, selected stripes or curves as the motif for their work. With this decision (stripes or curves) painters may have felt that they were reaching ‘higher’ ground, as for many painters there is a spiritual quest that is going on, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. The world is such a complex and uncertain place that I believe it gave some artists great comfort to choose between stripes and curves rather than have this choice be made for them....
Art Historical Resonance and Komarin Exhibition in The Hamptons

Art Historical Resonance and Komarin Exhibition in The Hamptons

As an abstract painter painting in 2015, it is a very curiously emotional experience to show my new paintings in Bridgehampton, New York. Many do not realize that some of the greatest American Painters of the past century settled in The Hamptons in the late 40’s and 50’s, having moved out of the barren, cold, and gritty loft spaces of lower New York. Two of the most famous of these individuals were Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. While Willem de Kooning had emigrated from Holland to New York, and Jackson Pollock from Wyoming to New York, both had lived and worked in the lower reaches of Manhattan. Life for an abstract painter in the 30’s and 40’s was a very tough experience indeed. Painters tended to live in cold water flats – toilets and sinks down the hall – and very little money coming up the pipeline. The mindset and expectation of making money was very, very low. There was no place to go, so why not pour everything into the ‘work.’ Painters at this time were drawn to painting like moths to a flame. It was not the career that well-positioned parents and teachers encouraged their talented children to pursue. Picasso was the God that was worshipped from across the big and tumbling ocean…and both Pollock and de Kooning struggled to keep alive, make the rent and still paint their hearts out during the daylight hours. Both were heavy drinkers and smokers, but this came very much with the territory. It wasn’t so much an attempt to be ‘romantic,’ the act of painting. Rather, these individuals were hard-core devoted artists and the drinking and smoking...

Sex Sells and Sex Sells in Contemporary Art

It is no great secret that sex sells in advertising and has been doing this quite well for some time now.  A great many products from cars to clothing to perfumes to hair conditioners and even to food products — where sauces are slowly dripped into place and icings on cakes are licked with eager tongues — all use sex to help sell the product at hand. Sex also sells in Contemporary Art. Not only Contemporary Art, but art of the past several thousand years. Certainly images of loosely clad women in the Japanese and Indian and Chinese Silk drawings engaging in sexual acts illustrates that sex was on the mind of our ancient forebears perhaps as much if not more than in the present time frame. African sculpture, which is tribal and primitive and quite beautiful in its elemental simplicity, done since the time of Christ (and made for ceremonial  and tribal reasons and not for the art market which did not exist at that time), is chock full of phallic attachments. It is often humorous to me in its directness and simplicity. A standing figure will have a phallus longer than the individual is tall. Sex sells is evident in contemporary art More recently Courbet, the great French painter of the 19th century, created an infamous portrait of a woman who is nearly without clothes lounging on a divan, to the delight of the onlookers and the collector who finally bought the piece. It was exhibited privately for a number of years because of its saucy nature. De Kooning, the great Dutch painter of the last century, became...