Karl Pilato

“In my experience, moments of awareness in which presence is enlivened with the mystery of absence come unexpectedly. A landscape can be dully defined as tree, grass, and sky, and the next minute with some unintended shift in perception the same landscape is ablaze with mystery, and the words to identify its parts mean nothing anymore. I had such an experience once taking a walk while the evening sky was lavender and pink. In theory I knew that the landscape I inhabited was beautiful, but I was emotionally unaffected by it until a person wearing a pink shirt the exact same color as the sky appeared in the distance. Suddenly, maybe because of the shift in scale and startling sameness of big and small, the world opened up to include absence, and I could see the beauty I’d been missing. Despite the unexpected timing of such awareness-expanding moments, making art can be a practice of responding to, and coaxing into being, for oneself and others, experiences that momentarily transform the world into something unnamable and new.

The sometimes clumsy dance I enact, searching for the right color, wiping away paint, weaving lines through one another, making an edge soft and another hard, hunting for balance and continual motion is shaped by my effort to be aware of absence. I never know what my painting will be when I start, but gradually, if everything goes well and I don’t force things, my marks will find rightness in relation to one another and to the edges of the canvas. Underlying that rightness is both a feeling of familiarity—the colors and forms evoke nature—and a feeling of mystery—the colors and forms defy fixity and weave through one another like absence breathes through the world. Occasionally my rightness rises to exhilarating clarity, and though certain to return to a state of doubt, I reaffirm my faith in painting.”

– Karl Pilato



One and Two Person Exhibitions

2015 Bryant Street Gallery, Recent Paintings, Palo Alto, CA
2013 Bryant Street Gallery, Landscape Becoming, Palo Alto, CA
2011 Bryant Street Gallery, Recent Paintings, Palo Alto, CA
2007 Alcove, Ink Paintings, New York, NY
2007 Lepere, Paintings, Drawings, and Prints, New York, NY
2004 Kingston Gallery, Catherine Bowen and Karl Pilato: Paintings, Boston, MA
2004 Mark Gallery, Pogany and Pilato: Paintings and Prints, Cambridge, MA
2003 Butters Gallery, Portland, OR


Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 K. Imperial Fine Art, Art on Paper Fair, New York, NY
2014 Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, From Beyond the Window, Minneapolis, MN
2014 Bryant Street Gallery, On the Verge, Palo Alto, CA
2014 Fresh Paint, Summer Solstice, Culver City, CA
2014 Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition, La Jolla, CA
2013 Etra Fine Art, Highlights 2013, Miami, FL
2013 Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art, Fall Group Show, Santa Fe, NM
2013 Fresh Paint, Three, Culver City, CA
2012 K. Imperial Fine Art, Aqua Art Fair, Miami, FL
2012 Chicago Art Source Gallery, New Works by Gallery Artists, Chicago, IL
2012 K. Imperial Fine Art, San Francisco Fine Art Fair, San Francisco, CA
2011 Kathryn Markel Fine Art, Illusions of Life, New York, NY
2011 K. Imperial Fine Art, San Francisco Fine Art Fair, San Francisco, CA
2011 Cannon Art Gallery, Juried Biennial, Carlsbad, CA
2010 Fresh Paint, Gathering, Culver City, CA
2010 Chicago Art Source Gallery, Three of a Kind, Chicago, IL
2010 Bryant Street Gallery, Art San Diego-Contemporary Art Fair, San Diego, CA
2009 Dean Jensen Gallery, Big Bangs, Small Bucks 2, Milwaukee, WI
2009 Hiestand Gallery, Miami University, 10th Annual Young Painters Competition Finalists, Oxford, OH (juried by Bob Nugent)
2008 Chicago Art Source Gallery, Out of Focus, Chicago, IL
2008 Lana Santorelli Gallery, Abstraction, New York, NY
2007 The Lobby Gallery at 499 Park Avenue, Surfacing, New York, NY
2007 Portland Art Museum, Stevens Room, Sitka Series, Portland, OR
2007 Heart and Soul Charitable Fund, Inaugural Invitational Art Sale, New York, NY
2006 Visual AIDS, Postcards from the Edge, New York, NY
2005 Washington Square East Galleries, NYU, Small Works, New York, NY
2005 Myerhoff Gallery, MICA, 15 x 15, Baltimore, MD
2005 World Forestry Center, Sitka Invitational, Portland, OR
2004 Mark Gallery, The Gift, Cambridge, MA
2004 World Forestry Center, Sitka Invitational,Portland, OR
2003 The Art Gym, Marylhurst University, Painting Portland, Portland, OR (curated by Robert Gamblin)
2003 Tower Gallery, Mass Art Master Print Series and Alumni Prints, Boston, MA
2003 Cascade AIDS Project Benefit, 13th Annual Auction, Portland, OR
2003 World Forestry Center, Sitka Invitational, Portland, OR
2002 Fulton Street Gallery, Interpreting Landscape, Troy, NY
World Forestry Center, Sitka Invitational, Portland, OR
2001 Bakalar Gallery, Mass Art, MFA Thesis Show, Boston, MA
Copley Society, Annual Student Show, Boston, MA
2000 Bakalar Gallery, Mass Art, MFA Midway, Boston, MA
1998 Maryland Artists Series, Government House, Power Objects in the Here and Now, Annapolis, MD
1998 Lalit Kala Academy, IASG in New Delhi, New Delhi, India
1997 Project Space, 7th Street International, II, Washington DC