“Force Field” features a selection of bold, thought-provoking pieces, the majority created by using old paint and discarded paintings. Gortner started working with “found paintings” — obtained through thrift stores, friends and art schools — almost 20 years ago.
He discovered that if he fastened them together, added new paint and elements and used various techniques, he could create an entirely new piece. It doesn’t hurt that he learned carpentry from his father. “Regardless of what they look like, because they are paint and they are on canvas,” he said, “I can transform them in various ways to make them look totally different than the way they did.”
One such piece, “Set on Top,” includes seven scavenged paintings that barely can be seen because of the new elements Gortner applied. To create a new painting atop old ones, he works “additively” and “reductively.” One of those reductive techniques is ripping off paint layers to see what emerges.