Casting a nostalgic eye
This story was featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Coffee cups, lollipops, and high-heeled shoes—all ordinary objects that find their way into still-life paintings by Southern California-based artist Daryl Gortner. At first blush the works may seem quintessentially photorealistic. But on closer inspection, they often include a myriad of abstract shapes reflected in the shiny surfaces of glass, silver, foil, and even cellophane. Gortner likes to refer to her paintings as possessing a certain yin and yang quality, if she is successful. “My paintings are simple yet complicated, photorealistic yet abstract, and nostalgic yet contemporary,” she says.
Indeed, her paintings often evoke a hint of nostalgia. For example, in her upcoming show at Coda Gallery in Palm Desert, CA, she plans to include a portrait of a gumball machine much like her recent work WORTH A PRETTY PENNY. The painting pays homage to the old-fashioned candy dispensers while bringing together other signature elements in her work: luscious color, abstract shapes, and reflective materials.
Gortner’s painstakingly created still lifes take up to two months to complete. For her show at Coda Gallery, she expects to present about nine new works, including UPLIFTING, a depiction of black patent stilettos. “In some way the objects I paint have touched me, and that’s why I have painted them,” Gortner says. “It could be about a candy apple I once ate at a fair or a pair of Mary Janes we all wore as little girls. Usually there is some emotional attachment to the objects.”
In 2004 Gortner was attending college bent on majoring in computers when she signed up for an art-history class mainly because it was a required course. Fascinated by what she was learning, she began to enroll in more and more art classes until she eventually switched her major to fine art at California’s Fullerton College.
These days she is a full-time fine artist with a successful career she says she never could have imagined. Her current artistic mission: “I hope my paintings put a big smile on people’s faces and give them a happy feeling inside.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download
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