Born in Orange County, CA, Painter James Gortner attended Hawaii Pacific University and received his MFA from Columbia University. His paintings feature reversed found wall and floor paint, as well as assemblages of transformed objects and paintings by other artists. Gortner paints and sculpts into the assemblage using a variety of techniques ranging from abstract to hyper-realistic.
Gortner’s work has been featured at Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery (Connecticut), the Fisher Landau Center for the arts (LIC), Mana Contemporary (Jersey City), Lyons Wier Gallery (New York), and The Pool Gallery (Berlin). His work has been written about in the Hartford Courant, Men’s Journal, The Berliner, and in New American Paintings 2017 (Northeast). Gortner belongs to the collections of the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Jimenez-Colon Collection, and the Wooster Street Art Collective as well as the private collection of President Jiang Zemin of China and actress Reese Witherspoon, among others. He lives and works out of New York City.
James Gortner’s third show at the gallery, Force Field, focuses on the transformation of energy as the critical juncture in the creative cycle. Over an emergent career of painting with disparate art materials including transforming other artists’ paintings and ideas, the artist finds ways to energize this vector with knife, paint and brush as well as themes of multiplicity, interconnectivity, transformation, and sustainability- all amounting to something that’s strictly never been done before.
In this new work, Gortner selects colors and pours reclaimed paint on a found painting. He then cuts up one or more found paintings into shards and subjective shapes and compositions, pressing them paint face down in the wet paint. Later, when the paint is dry, Gortner breaks apart the bonded paint surfaces- exposing various layers as well as describing the physics of the paintings transformation. A Force Field, is what is known in physics as a field indicating the forces exerted by one object or another. Gortner then paints further into the transformation, further mark making and exercising subjective force as he sees fit.
On whole, the work is a gesture that could be both destructive and transformative. A power struggle between the strength of multiple paintings and painters to yield one. The work is also a singular esoteric battling and jiving between sections of the artist’s own self and identity as it pertains to his existence as well as art over time. Gortner’s work in painting and its implications come to a cold light in Force Field.