John Pomara

Eugene Binder Gallery

John Pomara’s recent work may reflect a split personality, but it’s ours as much as his. In paintings from the first half of the ’80s, turbulent color fields surround silhouetted black abstract forms, evoking robots and spaceships. The science fictional elements combine with graffiti and neo-Expressionism to comment obliquely on the failed aspirations of both mid-century science (Sputnik gone awry) and the painterly heroism of the Abstract Expressionists. The painterly brio of Pomara’s work compete with the dopey, out-of-kilter robotic forms, suggesting a paradox—the investment of substantial physical energy—in the depiction of entropy and collapse.

As the art of the ’80s cooled down, so did Pomara’s, but without abandoning its basic themes or its commitment to paint. The entropic forms remained, but the full-spectrum color and diagrammatic scribblings of the surrounding fields gave way to

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