Ghost of the Host

August 28-December 8, 2017

Reception: November 2, 5-7 p.m.

Rey Dack, 2017, oil on linen, 13 x 11 inches Rey Dack, 2017, oil on linen, 28 x 25 inches

Ghost of the Host, a new exhibition of paintings by Caleb Kortokrax, will be on view August 28 through December 8 at Stevenson University’s Greenspring Art Gallery. Kortokrax shows the value of slowing down and more fully experiencing the moment—materially, visually, mentally, physically, and spiritually—through the process of looking and painting.

This new body of work began as a departure, which sought to make sense of, or find common ground within, divergent systems of painting. Not particularly favoring the content of the representational tradition or the disembodied material process of abstraction, Kortokrax uses the image and the physical surface of the paintings to navigate a middle way, full of more possibilities and cross-pollination.

Kortokrax begins each work with found visual ideas or color combinations that are first manifested in sketches or iPhone photos and/or drawings. He then physically creates the idea in the form of collected objects, dioramas, or sculptural spaces in a stage-like setup, which uses two equally-sized string grids: one that is tied to a wooden frame placed in front of the subject and another that is physically attached to the surface of the painting (which is later removed). The two grids exist on different planes of reality: seen and painted, both of which come together in the final image. The role of the string grids are pronounced in the surface of the paint, leaving traces and scars of the strings’ former presence. Shapes and forms attach onto, fill in, and hang upon their parallel framework, serving as a compositional structure as well as an optical measurement device.
Once the final paintings begin, the process then becomes all about looking. Intentionally using conventions and material traditions from the recent past of Western painting customs, Kortokrax finds himself participating in an unpredictable exercise in unlearning and relearning how to see.
-August 2017

all work © 2023 — Caleb Kortokrax