"Transformer" continues Gortner's exploration of representational narration and artistic production through works that incorporate both original and found elements. In "Transformer" Gortner cuts and collages pieces from an even wider range of found paintings and discarded objects, incorporating them into a new imagined composition. By layering the face of his panels with cut canvas, pieces, and parts of pre-existing found work, Gortner affects a beguiling surface beyond the two-dimensional picture plane. These "Transformers" are, in a sense, a collective meta-sculpture of discarded energy that evidences the artist's own deftness of hand, supported by elements extracted from other artists' paintings and found objects.
It is the oscillation between action and stillness, known and unknown, real and illusory, natural and unnatural, original and found that makes Gortner's paintings so captivating. Their complicated content keeps them both contemporary and abstract. All combined, the "Transformer Paintings" brilliantly balance authorship and stewardship, as they evidence an evolution of artistic process. The work embraces a unique visionary narrative - an idiomatic manifestation that James Gortner has made all his own.