James Gortner serves as both artist and storyteller in the original works he creates by piecing together and embellishing upon found works of art. Paintings discovered in locations varying from art schools to thrift shops serve as the basis for his creations that in turn speak to our human connection to one another, nature and the environment.
Fantastical explosions of flowers, mountains, humans and wildlife are brought together in overlapping visual stories that become one courtesy of Gortner’s careful eye and painterly embellishment. So realistic are these imagined scenes, it seems each might be actively in motion as jarringly realistic women reach toward the viewer and elements such as flora and wildlife inch beyond their canvas, spilling out onto their wooden frames and threatening to escape.
A California native with degrees from both Hawaii Pacific University and Columbia University, Gortner possesses acumen for depth and perception that has resulted in his works making their way into private collections, such as that of President Jiang Zemin of China and actress Reese Witherspoon. Gortner has been featured at Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery in CT and the Pool Gallery in Berlin. Locally, the artist’s work can be viewed at Lyons Wier Gallery in Manhattan and DETOUR Gallery in Red Bank, NJ.
After Mitch Berg received his journalism degree from the University of Wyoming in 1986, he headed south to Santa Fe and began his career selling tribal imports such as rugs, furniture and art from around the world. This experience informs the found objects of his artwork today, he says.
“I consider my work to be a kind of tribal art,” he says. “My tribe is the perennially young at heart, loves to laugh and play, bohemian folk poet, maker-and lover-of-life-tribe.” His mediums include “old and rusty things,” junk finds culled from the dry Santa Fe riverbed facing his home and pieces of fused glass he creates from a kiln in his studio.
Konstantin Bokov was born in the Ukraine in 1940 and immigrated to New York City in 1974. He shares his whimsical style and endless imagination with New Yorkers in DIY public installations, earning him a devoted local following. Bokov is the subject of “Free,” an award-winning independent 2012 documentary, which follows the artist from his discovery of raw trash through its transformation into art objects that are then placed in public spaces to an unsuspecting audience. “Free” has been honored at numerous festivals around the globe. Bokov’s passion to create transcends genre, a philosophy he sums up by saying, “I live from my imagination.”
James Andrew Brown has a BFA from Calvin College and an MFA from Western Michigan University, and is a 1984 alumnus of The Studio Museum in Harlem’s celebrated Artist-in-Residence Program. An Associate Professor of Fine Art at New Jersey’s William Paterson University, he has received numerous professional honors and fellowships. According to the artist, “My work shows the struggle to transcend the trap created by our social environment, and it confronts the traps within its madness; a human expression of our reality that is difficult to comprehend, and often too complex to communicate.” Brown’s paintings, sculptures, installations, performance art and videos have been exhibited throughout America, Europe and China.
Find these and other exceptional works of contemporary art at DETOUR Gallery, 24 Clay Street, Red Bank, NJ
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