In James Gortner’s paintings, his personal conflicts, moods, and dreams combine with other people’s stories and magical myths of the past and present to create new myths. Gortner‘s paintings lean into sculpture, sometimes reference photography, and involve circumstances and processes akin to performance. He usually incorporates into his paintings reclaimed wood and sustainable materials, as well as paints on layers of reclaimed artist’s paintings, adding physical texture and tension to enhance the narrative, or abstract the storytelling at play.
Gortner’s singular identity as an artist is rooted in his hybrid of spiritual practices, artistic influences, and his unlimited technical freedom as a painter. His points of reference range from large-scale History Painting and Contemporary Abstraction, to experiential painting and conceptual art (All of which get re-evaluated and renewed in Gortner’s work). Gortner intends his paintings to be vehicles for contemplation of our environment, interconnectedness, and transformation.