Chris Komater is a San Francisco-based photographer interested in challenging received ideas of beauty and masculinity, frequently looking at subject matter given little prior aesthetic attention. A Bouquet of Bears & A Dozen Little Roses is a large-scale photographic floral arrangement focused on a particular little survivor from another century that is an often overlooked part of the urban landscape of San Francisco: the Cecile Brunner rose (introduced to California by Franz B. Hosp in 1894).
Alongside Komater’s rose images are large-scale photographic grids that resemble floral forms but are comprised of close-up images of big, hairy bodies. The works pay homage to Busby Berkeley’s dazzling kaleidoscopic musical production numbers from the 1930s. Instead of the legs and plumage of Berkeley’s showgirls, bearded necks and furry legs are offered as sources of aesthetic and sensual pleasure.
Inspired by the eroticization and fetishization of large hairy men within the gay community, these works abstract and celebrate an ideal of beauty quite outside of the mainstream. The project playfully subverts the genre of flower photography and redirects our gaze onto a different type of body.
Chris Komater’s photographs and installations have been shown at Cheryl Haines Gallery, Patricia Sweetow Gallery, Mark Wolfe Contemporary Arts, Meridian Gallery, and the LAB Gallery in San Francisco; Jan Kesner Gallery in Los Angeles; Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston and many other venues. He is the recipient of a WESTAF-NEA Regional Visual Arts Fellowship, a Market Street Art-in-Transit grant and was the founding director and curator of Secession Gallery, a non-profit gallery without walls in San Francisco, and the online arts venue Marjorie Wood Gallery.
Artist Talks and Reception: Saturday, September 27, 4-6pm
Oakland Art Murmur First Friday: October 3, 6-9pm
Third Thursdays on 25th Street: October 16, 6-8pm