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.
Painter James Gortner received his B.A. from Hawaii Pacific University and his MFA from Columbia University. Gortner’s work has been exhibited at The Fisher Landau Center for The Arts (New York), Mana Contemporary (New Jersey), San Bernardino County Museum (California), RW Norton Art Gallery (Louisiana), The LeRoy Neiman Gallery (New York), Lyons Wier Gallery (New York), Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery (Connecticut), and Dittrich & Schlichtum Gallery (Berlin). His work has been featured in print in New American Paintings (North East Edition), New American Art Collector Magazine, Men’s Journal, and the Berliner, among other publications. His artwork is included in the collection of the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Jimenez-Colon Collection, and the Wooster Collective as well as the private collection of President Jiang Zemin of China and actress Reese Witherspoon, among others. James Gortner lives in New York and works from his studio at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ.