Gortner’s painted image begins as a constructed composition of many other artist’s original works. Via friends’ donations, thrift stores, street finds, the cleaning of college art studios, and the Internet, Gortner has an ongoing empirical model for his exploration of expanded authorship. Once the background mosaic is solidified, Gortner then begins to paint upon it using traditional oil painting tropes, but enhances the surface sculpturally with collage, ripped and reassembled canvases, and found objects. Gortner may then ask other artists to intervene in the painting, further complicating his model for artistic authorship. Through the technical process and conceptual scope of the project, Gortner produces a multidimensional social mirror, plane, or lens between artist(s) and the viewer.
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. “The Lovers” will be Gortner’s first solo exhibition in New York City.