Paintings, Photographs, Words and Objects
by VIGGO MORTENSEN
November 21st through January 23rd.
A simple gesture, a seeming coincidence, accidental encounters, changes of light-Mortensen uses his art to capture (and recapture) the moments of his life, to give it meaning, to understand, to satisfy his curiosity and to express his wonder at the "suchness" of things and people in the passing world. Included in the exhibition are his writing, paintings, collages, assemblages, found objects and photographs-color, black and white, manipulated, composite-that point to the fluidity of meaning of a world in flux.
Poems are layered in paintings-obscured, written over, then painted again. Found objects are treated lovingly and elevated above their humble throw-away status. Sponges, rugs, wire, tape, nails adorn paintings of all sizes and shapes. Color and black and white photographs, taken deliberately or snapped on the run are juxtaposed with old, found images that may, in their turn, be altered, scratched and manipulated by the latest digital technology. Old and new rub against each other in textured works that suggest a fractured narrative composed of the artist's visual and emotional memories. Mortensen is perhaps best known for his outstanding performances in films such as A Perfect Murder, The Indian Runner, GI Jane, and Portrait of a Lady, and the upcoming Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho. He is also the author of several books of poetry and other writings. But for Mortensen observing, writing, painting, photographing, impersonating, studying, and recording the everyday details of life are a way to dig below the surface of events to reveal their meaning. Like good luck charms, these works are invested by the artist with a kind of magic. Transformed and interpreted by Mortensen, the raw materials are no longer important. The authenticity of the work lies in its emotional honesty-itself a very risky proposition in a world that values irony and cynicism above all else.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with a foreward by Dennis Hopper that includes a selection of Mortensen's poetry, photographs, and paintings.