Following last year’s spectacular, sold-out show, DeBruyne Fine Art will host their ninth solo exhibition by artist Jenness Cortez. “Homage to the Creative Spirit,” on view January 28 through March 31, 2010, presents a captivating selection of Cortez’s most recent contemporary American realism paintings.
For centuries artists have been challenging their intellect and skills by paying homage to the painters who preceded them. In her new work, Jenness Cortez becomes the 21st century’s most notable example of this genre. Her continuing dedication to creating original paintings that incorporate art within art makes her work compelling––both by the virtuosity of her craft and by her astonishing fidelity to a broad range of artistic genres. This masterful work gives Cortez solid footing in the colorful history of artists who have appropriated vintage images and woven them into their own distinctive, recognizable fabric.
The ancient genre of “art in art” flowered throughout the 17th century and became a staple with many of the Dutch masters including Johannes Vermeer. In modern times, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Larry Rivers all have acknowledged the inspiration they found in employing the works of artists who came before them.
Jenness Cortez has made references to other works of art the core of her intriguing interiors and still life paintings that explore the definitions of what art is. Through her current show’s visual homage to Mary Cassatt, Leonardo DaVinci, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, John Singer Sargent, Titian, Vincent Van Gogh and Johannes Vermeer, Cortez reexamines the classic paradox of realism: the painting as a “window” into an imagined space and as a physical object; both a metaphysical presence and a material entity. In doing so, she not only challenges her own creativity and the viewers’ intellectual curiosity, but also celebrates the sheer pleasure of beautiful painting.
Each of us sees the world through different lenses––evaluating every relationship (including our relationship with art) through the limiting perspective of our likes and dislikes. In her provocative work Jenness Cortez plays author, architect, visual journalist, art historian, curator and pundit to help open our eyes to entrancing visual experiences that we might otherwise have overlooked or taken for granted.
Cortez takes the viewer on a magic carpet ride to a world of exciting destinations and offers us an opportunity to rediscover, revalue and reintegrate our own creative force into everyday life. She successfully shares her ability to see the commonplace in a new, rewarding light. Here the artist is both the moderator and the motivator to help the viewer overcome subtle, 21st century visual prejudices and ennui that often inhibit a natural and intelligent “reading” of a remarkable work of art.
The real excitement and the concrete reason behind the immense national popularity of Cortez paintings is the multitude of rewards her work deliver. Surveying Cortez’s recent work is like visiting the world’s finest museums all in one flight of fancy. Viewers at a Cortez exhibition often spend long periods of time in front of her paintings, examining the impossibility of the magical illusions that the artist accomplishes on the flat surfaces of her mahogany panels.
Each Cortez painting presents a specific theme, supported by references to other artists’ lives and times, and the images that they have created for us. Cortez mixes straightforward cues and obscure allusions, as in the monumental paintings “Nine Instruments of Grace” and “The Glorious Cause”. Her thematic connections and clues are found in skillfully rendered book covers, photographs, sculpture and antiques––making her body of work unique in American contemporary realist painting. A visit to a Cortez exhibition is an experience that lingers. You’ll find yourself pondering the lasting impressions and inspirations this artist so generously offers. Website: www.cortezart.com