[New York] Lyons Wier Gallery is pleased to announce "Myths & Mirrors” by James Gortner.
Gortner continues to refine and expand on subjects and forms he has explored throughout his career, all the while pushing his work into new terrain. The artist views the exhibition as a significant opportunity to lay bare and test what his paintings can do within these new environments. The unique qualities of Gortner’s work will be highlighted within the gallery, where his investigations of scale, color, and composition will be fully on display.
Gortner’s signature methodology consists of hand-sculpting each surface using wood, foam, staples, canvas and acrylic paint before using oil paint to realistically render the figure. The results transform the expectations of the two-dimensional surface into a beguiling three-dimensional composition. Gortner also incorporates fragments of discarded and forgotten artworks that he finds in thrift stores, other artists’ studios, as well as in his own work space, into his portraits. By harnessing the ‘energy’ of pre-dated found art, Gortner carefully combines these discordant resources into harmonious wholes, creating a style that forges new ground. It is in this ‘collaboration’ that Gortner draws upon his unique spirit, asking the viewer to suspend traditional expectations of art making and instead consider how his connectivity to the past and present expresses a new authenticity of content and ownership. Lastly, Gortner laboriously hand-constructs his own frames, suggesting a threshold for the paintings’ subjects to come forward, into ‘real life’, as they visually oscillate between the foreground and background of the illusionistic painting.
James Gortner was born in Orange County, CA in 1977. He received his M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2010 and his B.A. from Hawaii Pacific University in 2001. Gortner’s work has been exhibited at The Fisher Landau Center for The Arts (New York), Mana Contemporary (New Jersey), RW Norton Art Gallery (Louisiana), Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery (Connecticut), and The Pool Gallery (Berlin) and has been featured in New American Paintings (North East Edition) and New American Art Collector Magazine, among other publications. His artwork is included in the collection 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. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with Lyons Wier Gallery. James Gortner lives in New York and works from his studio at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ.