Paintings by Gianna Commito at Rachel Uffner
The dialogue between architecture and fine art is nothing new. Russian artists were exploring that realm over a century ago, yet it still remains fertile ground and a point of interest for artists. Think of El Lissitzky’s spiritual planes of color, Charles Sheeler’s minimal approach to American Realism, or Donald Judd’s gleaming stacks and boxes. Twentieth century art history gave us plenty to talk about when it comes to architecture and how it informs the world and its individuals (or vice versa).
Gianna Commito’s paintings at Rachel Uffner certainly fall into that canon of art. However, according to Commito, her own community and daily routine informs these works. This brings in personality and warmth to a history that often can seem conceptual or unfeeling. It is Commito’s belief that she can use the structures around her to inform the formal style of her work. As the press release for the exhibition says, “Commito takes the physical repetitions of her daily routine, such as walking a path through her neighborhood to her studio, and reimagines these constants.” A simple morning is suddenly transformed into a meditation on the structures that inform a person’s life and experiences.
With transformation in mind, Commito seems keen on fusing conflicting elements together. This is accomplished elegantly by an attention to detail, craftsmanship, and a very high regard for balancing color and composition. For example, in the painting Bixler, areas of chaotic red stripes are soothed by bodies of navy and black and rippling circles. One can almost see puddles and grey skies against construction signage or the window shutters of a house.
Commito is not necessarily doing something new with this work, but she certainly follows her vision and carries it out successfully. One can capture a sense of space, of activity, of structure, and their constant interactions and collisions. It is the essence of a designed, societal realm or community, but seen through the eyes of the individual.