Architectural forms, geometric abstraction, and the tension between balance, color & form inspire California Abstract Artist, Maya Kabat. The urban landscape of California’s Bay Area and the unconventional tools she uses further informs her art.
I paint to create a language for things I can’t articulate, to address the questions that don’t have answers.
For Kabat, the work is an ongoing process of refinement and regeneration. She uses drywall tools, to layer, build and add texture to her canvases. With seeming impetuosity, she may introduce a dissonant color or destructively wipe a canvas entirely clean to start over. She works fast and prolific, obsessive almost. The process dictated by an imperative inherent within the medium: She can only work as the paint is malleable. “Time” is not necessarily her friend.
[..] it means I really have to be fully committed to paint one of my pieces. I can’t leave it if it’s not done.
Maya Kabat “started out as a kid who just needed to make things”. As a young girl she began knitting with her grandmother. She carried that skill on through high school and into college. “I always loved thread.”
She began “quilting” as an undergrad finding inspiration in improvisational quilters such as the unique and important African-American Gee’s Bend quilt makers and the renowned African-American quiltmaker, Rosie Lee Tompkins. The asymmetry and the improvisational approach to pattern, shape and color continue to influence her work.
Prior to graduate studies at the University of California, Davis Ms. Kabat began painting because she felt a need to learn about color in ways that quilt-making could not afford. Initially, she began primarily painting landscapes, understanding space — using the basic tools to construct realistic space.
Her present work can be considered “urban landscapes” embodying that sense of push & pull with space, of dark & light, of small worlds of pattern, color & texture, “just like the city itself”.
In this series of paintings I explore the changing form and reality of my daily life through an examination of constantly shifting external and internal environments. Referencing the urban landscape where I live, I examine how with the changing seasons, my surroundings shift with the light, the weather, the passing of time. Plates of earth move and my house shakes and then settles. The horizontal and vertical structures around me turn slightly off-kilter with time and wear, as the cracks in the hard cement remind me that nothing is fixed. The built environments in which I dwell, like my body and my mind, are not static.
My paintings play within this space between chaos and order, structure and formlessness; between a world that feels solid, unchanging, and safe, while simultaneously knowing that nothing is. The result is the visual record of the struggle to hold these two realities at once; to create a language for the uncertainty and precariousness of life without crumbling beneath the weight of the understanding.
Using a range of scraping tools I create my surfaces with stripes, gouges and flat slabs of paint, as I apply, scrape away, and reapply paint. Earlier layers are exposed and then covered, as the painting is built, cut away and edited. I see the process of painting itself as an excavation. I work to expose the truth of the painting and to locate some truth about myself within it. I paint to create a language for things I can’t articulate, to address the questions that don’t have answers.
Featured works by Maya Kabat can be viewed at Garden Court Antiques presented by Art Consultant, Laurie Ghielmetti Interiors + Art.
Maya Kabat received a Master of Fine Arts in 2000 from the University of California, Davis. Notable exhibitions include a solo show at the Caffe Museo at SFMOMA in 2012, a solo show at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery, San Francisco, California in 2009, and a two-person exhibition at 5 Claude Lane Gallery, in San Francisco, California which was reviewed in Art LTD. Magazine in September, 2011. She was a founding member of the artist-run space, Mercury Twenty Gallery, in Oakland, California and served as President on the Oakland Art Murmur Board of Directors in 2011-2012. For more on Ms. Kabat’s substantial background [..] ^jh
Further readings and sources:
- Interview with Mercury Twenty Artist Maya Kabat with Kathleen King & Joan Weiss
- Artist’s website: mayakabat.com
- Twitter: @MayaKabat
- Facebook: Maya Kabat
- Saatchi Art: Maya Kabat
- Art Slant: Maya Kabat
- SFWeekly: Maya Kabat Exhibit in SFMOMA Cafe Distracts from Downtown Holiday Madness
- Wikipedia: Gee’s Bend quilt makers
- New York Times Obituary: Rosie Lee Tompkins
- University of California, Davis, M.F.A.