San Francisco

Milton Komisar

Venus Gallery, Oakland

Komisar, who has just won a $2,000 award from the Louis C. Tiffany Foundation, is the second artist of the Venus Group to present a one-man show, his first. The quality is high.

Komisar is a figurative painter with definite thoughts on the place of man in the urban art which is today’s en­vironment, thoughts which he some­times projects through the figure of his dog, Harry, much in the manner of the novelist, Jack London. Harry Some­times Dreams of Far Off Places is the literary title of one of his paintings­—a blue shepherd dog stands at the win­dow in a dark and richly-hued blue room, staring wistfully out at a stretch of sunlit forest beyond a rushing stream. A banal subject. But Komisar has lifted it into the realm of the ex­traordinary, infusing it with such un­disguised longing that he stirs the la­tent instinct in all of us for the strong swim, the wild chase, the sunny bask, the prowl through the forest.  Harry is a not quite happy captive of too much security, and one unconsciously identifies with him.

The figure and its action contained within a framework of architectural rec­tangles is the simple gist of Komisar’s composition. In his latest body of work, a waterfront genre of the industrial city of Oakland, he is less philosophical. He uses broad brushstrokes, strong color and intense light in the architec­tonic manner of the late David Park.

Elizabeth M. Polley