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Gail Comes


My father had been an artist when I was a kid. Some times he would drag me around to museums with him. I remember when it was a big deal for him that I was finally old enough to go to the Frick museum with him. You have to be 12 to go to the Frick.

 I recall crawling around in the Museum of Modern Art with my dad. I say crawling because as I recall it had been a long day and he had just one more painting that he really wanted to see. I was about 10 years old at the time. And there it was…the painting that changed my life forever. I found myself standing in front of Francis Bacon’s painting “1946”. I immediately didn’t feel well, in fact I felt scared! Absolutely frightened.  And that was my very first realization that art had the power to make you feel something. For me that painting was clearly about war and all of the terrible possibilities of war that would make seemingly good  people do horrible things to each other.


From that moment on I never thought about art as just pretty pictures on the walls. It can be that too but it became a way of communicating ideas in a way I had not thought about before seeing that painting.


While I was in Junior High School, I had a wonderful teacher who could just sense that I was having some issues at home. He gave me a letter to deliver to and old friend of his when I was 14 years old and on my way home from school one day. I went to the address to deliver the letter for him. And as I turned to leave the office of his friend, she asked me “Where are you going? You do know this is about you?”  The woman told me to go to the second floor as their was an instructor’s show on and that I should choose who I want to study with. I had know idea, but this very kind teacher paid for my first three months at the Art Students League and also asked his friend, the president of the League, Rosina Florio to also find me a job at the school so that I could pay for future classes myself. That was 47 years ago.  I went on from there to Music and Art High school and then eventually to Pratt. I still to this day draw at the Art Students League. I am a Life Member. The basics of my work is now and has always been the human figure. Be it  portraits or the full figure. As I have said in the past, I see a face that grabs me and I try to grab it back.

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