Born Vasileios Konstantinou Koumoundouros in Athens, Greece, Bill Komodore came to the United States after the war with his father in 1947. The family was based in Pensacola, Florida where Bill completed high school and learned English. Komodore studied at Tulane University from 1951 to 1957, receiving both a bachelor’s and graduate degree. He first studied science as a pre-medicine student then moved to painting in 1954. His teachers at Tulane included Mark Rothko (a visiting professor in 1956), George Rickey, and David Smith.
Komodore received his first solo exhibition at the Haydon Calhoun Gallery in Dallas. The artist moved to New York in 1961. In 1963 Komodore discovered that his paintings of squares produced after-images and he became obsessed with exploring paintings that produced flickering, vibration, or after-images. These optically active works brought him to the attention of the dealer Howard Wise, whose gallery was becoming known for its avant-garde program of abstraction and new electronic arts. Komodore has his first New York show as part of the Howard Wise Gallery’s exhibition Debut: First New York Showing of Three Young American Artists in the fall of 1964. The two concurrent exhibitions featured fellow abstract artists Francis Celentano and Nathan Raisen. Komodore then had a full exhibition at the Howard Wise Gallery in the spring of 1966.
Komodore was included in the major Op exhibitions of the 1960s including MoMA’s The Responsive Eye 1965; the Albright-Knox’s Plus by Minus 1966 (where Making Out was exhibited); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Multiplicity, 1966; and the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art in Motion, 1965. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, Komodore was included in Young America: Thirty Artists under Thirty-Five in 1965, Artists Under Forty in 1968, and the annual exhibitions of 1965 and 1967. In 2007 Komodore was included in Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s at the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio.
In the late 1970s Komodore moved to Texas and became a much loved professor at Southern Methodist University from 1989 on. In those years Komodore turned to abstracted figurative works, sometimes wryly humorous, that often draw on proverbs, poetry or Greek mythology. In Dallas he showed with Gerald Peters and at Decorazon Gallery. Komodore became fascinated with early Texas pottery and built an extensive collection widely exhibited in that state.
Fittingly a memorial for Bill Komodore was held at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas in 2012.
Bill Komodore’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the National Gallery of Art; Walker Art Center; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis; Dallas Museum of Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.