New York

Bill Komoski

Ealan Wingate Gallery

In Bill Komoski’s recent paintings, black configurations jostle like cosmic star bursts in abstract fields. His viewpoint is not bound by the limits of optical perspective, rather, Komoski’s paintings seem to depict the world from a godlike perspective. His is the view from a spacecraft, and indeed, the scattered light in these pictures recalls stellar photographs. From somewhere out in the unknown, a diffused yet powerful light bathes all the pictorial incident in its path, imbuing the paintings with an air of mystery and awe that never seems contrived or flip.

The impenetrable surface of these paintings secrets its process, contributing to the impression that they are the product of serious forethought, yet the splattered star bursts, vaguely geometric shapes, and quick brushstrokes of black seem dazzlingly spontaneous. The configurations appear to have been captured for a brief instant in the course of transfiguration. In Untitled, 1991, a painting in which a pale blue-gray background is penetrated by an X-shaped pattern of white light, traces of black lines scarcely slow down enough to coalesce into concentric rectangles; indeed, they seem on the verge of mutation or evaporation.

The thickly modeled, white ground of a Untitled, 1990, is penetrated by a bright yellow, roundish light source emanating from the work’s center. The yellow is in turn overlaid with a starred arrangement of black squiggles and smears. Like an origami figure in outer space, the eight legs of the star both mirror and fold in on themselves, making a comprehensive view unobtainable. Here, as in most of Komoski’s works, the brash, almost comic-book quality of the shapes contrasts with the religiosity of the light-infused backgrounds. Although the meanings of these two iconographic systems taken individually are antithetical, Komoski successfully fuses them, and the works that result are simultaneously manic and mesmerizing.

Dena Shottenkirk