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Kris Mortensen b. 1986


In the studio I am always confronting, challenging, and redefining my own criteria of both the formal and informal concerns pertaining to the construction of an image within painting. For me, this process is a searching—a fumbling curiosity where unexpected outcomes and mistakes become generative material pointing to new incentives. The content of my work stems from my interest in the way we have, and do represent our world as well as how we construct ourselves in relation to these existing representations in all media. While moving between representation and abstraction the history of painting functions as a visual index, an alphabet of marks that hold their own determined personalities and definitions for me to use, confuse, and collage together. Although self-exploration and representation are present, while working my primary focus shifts to my interaction with the material, its possibilities as well as its limits. Reacting to and stealing from various forms of visual material as well as my day-to-day environment I collage images and ideas together to form new and unexpected, or discordant relationships. These explorations often result in incongruous juxtaposition, absurdity, and jolting color relationships. The incongruity occurring within the painting becomes a site of play forming a conversation with what remains harmonious. The relationships and tensions that arise between the congruous and incongruous architecture of the work attempt to create a visual experience that divulges the process of making. Taking broad and various forms played with through a narrative format, these relationships are worked out and present in the interaction and tension that exists between two paintings, the paint and the substrate, abstraction and figuration, color use, line and form, content and frame, environment to subject, a mark's relationship to a pre-established place and meaning, interior and exterior, photography to painting, what is concealed and revealed, color and space, illusion and artifice/staging, tension and release, control and choice vs. accident.


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