Gianna Commito

casein and marble dust ground on panel
16" x 12.75"

(b. 1976 – Sea Level, NC)

By layering blocks of color, bold patterns, and stark diagonals, Gianna Commito builds fields of color that are at once flat geometric abstractions and explorations of depth and space. Intersecting lines cut sharply through planes of foggy earthen tones, which, in turn, are set on top of hard-edged, brightly colored shapes. Striped patterns, rather than flattening the piece, provide a reference point from which to look back and orient one’s self before following the lines on to another section of the painting. 

In Darrow, one may discern a still-life composition with a shallow depth of field. Bowls, balls, bookends, and cutting boards seem to comprise the foreground, taught and gathered drapery provides the backdrop. More than this, there appears to be a metaphysical quality to the painting. The marble dust pigment accentuates a strange arrangement: a spotlighted orb floats above a cleansing bowl, the shifting shadows or sound echoes they create push the viewer into disorientation. The scene now conjures a candlelit ritual room filled with emblematic wall patterns and miracles revealed.

Commito received an MFA in painting at the University of Iowa. She has exhibited work across the US, including at the William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, OH, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, and The Drawing Center, NY. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Ohio Arts Council Award (2017), Cleveland Arts Prize Emerging Artist Award (2015), and the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2004). Commito is Associate Professor at Kent State University’s School of Art.

From the nominating artist:

Gianna is a ‘painter’s painter,’ by that I mean her paintings are love letters to the act of painting, to the material qualities of paint. I think about Derrida’s idea of the postcard with her work, there’s much there that any incidental viewer can get lost in, the color, the intricate design, and of course the beautiful surfaces. But for a painter, her works are infused with compelling, scintillating moments of a painter’s ‘daring do.’ As another painter, I know how difficult what she makes look easy is to do. Her edges crackle, the material rises above the surface to crash back down like a wave, and the surface at once obscures and reveals all her secrets.
— Lane Cooper

Click the buttons to navigate this selection sequence

OR explore the rest of Fathom Two