Maya Kabat


Maya Kabat’s abstract oil paintings reference the urban landscape of Northern California, exploring relationships between architectural elements, California light, and the balance of color, line, plane, and space. Inspired originally by Diebenkorn’s work, Kabat often works intensely on the edges of her canvases, incorporating the external form of the object into the internal dialogue of the piece. She also usually leaves a quiet empty space in the middle of the canvas, giving absence and ground a prioritized position usually reserved for subject and form.

Unlike Diebenkorn, however, Kabat focuses intently on the physical surface of her work, mixing colors directly on the canvas to build up the image using drywall and plaster tools. Working within a limited amount of time while the paint is still malleable, she achieves a result that represents both empty space and solid forms and perfectly balances spontaneity with structure.

In her own words: “My paintings reference the urban landscape, and explore relationships between architectural elements, qualities of light, geometric abstraction, and tensions of structure, improvisation, color, and form. . . . I am interested in the push and pull of forms in space, with no direct reference points, where depth of field, scale, and perspective all come into question. I practice to create a space for myself to play and to explore relationships of contradiction and inconsistency. I paint to make sense of a world that feels solid, unchanging, and safe, while simultaneously knowing that nothing is.”


Maya Kabat received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Davis, in 2000. Notable exhibitions include a solo show at the Caffe Museo at SFMOMA in 2012, a two-person exhibition at 5 Claude Lane Gallery in San Francisco, California, which was reviewed in Art LTD. Magazine, and an exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre in London in 2016. She was a founding member of Mercury Twenty Gallery in Oakland, and served as President on the Oakland Art Murmur Board of Directors in 2011-2012. She has been awarded artist residencies at the Flotstanga Nature Preserve in Iceland, and at the London Intensive, a residency sponsored by the Camden Arts Centre and the Slade School of Fine Art. Notable corporate collections include Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems, Neiman Marcus, and Stanford Healthcare. Maya Kabat currently lives and works in Berkeley, CA, and is represented by SLATE contemporary in Oakland.