Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Gail Comes was nurtured by jazz musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and painters. This world sparked her curiosity, but it was an unlikely pairing—John Coltrane and Michelangelo, van Gogh, Bacon—that set her on her artistic path. Taking added inspiration from R. Crumb and the sights and sounds of the city, Comes pursued her craft, studying anatomy and drawing through her teenage years at the Art Students League. These influences—jazz, comics, and legendary painters—are ever-present in her work.
Bold lines are a hallmark of Comes’ oil paintings, linking her work, binding realism to the semi-abstract, the surreal, and those paintings that hover between art nouveau and graphic novel. Occasionally her figures burst with jazz-like improvisations, bursts of rich colors. Other times they are muted, melancholy. Some exist in a sublime peace. When asked why she paints these figures, Comes replied, “I see a body or a face that grabs me and I try to grab it back!”
Gail Comes lives and works in New York.