Artist Caleb Kortokrax‘s collection of paintings now on display in the gallery on the Greenspring campus creates a colorful harmony between the art styles of realism and abstraction. The artist, an adjunct professor of art at Stevenson University, uses the physical surface of paintings in a novel way.
The exhibit, called “Ghost of the Host,” makes use of “the image and the physical surface of the paintings to navigate a middle way,” according to a press release.
This is also a collaboration between Kortokrax’s own artistic journey. After creating many portraits, landscape paintings, and other works based in realism, he has spent about the last five years taking inspiration from abstraction.
Realism in art is “the accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature or of contemporary life,” according to britannica.com/art, while abstraction is almost the opposite. It is “art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms, and gestural marks to achieve its effect,” according to tate.org.uk/art. Kortokrax has blurred the lines between the two and created a style that borrows aspects from both.
To begin one of the paintings, like those in this collection, he will create a diorama-like sculpture from various materials including paint, paper, and cellophane. When the sculpture is completed, he begins to create a painted copy of his work. While he is still working on the sculpture, Kortokrax has to consider the size of the sculpture so he may be able to paint an exact copy of it onto the canvas. He has to take his color choices into consideration as well. For this collection, he wanted to use bright, vivid colors that would also feel natural at the same time.
Depending on the actual size of the painting, it can take Kortokrax anywhere between 10 hours and a few weeks, maybe months, to complete one of these images. The most difficult aspect of creating one of these paintings, he noted, is that organizing the space within the sculpture for a one to one copy could be challenging, but having to come up with the content for the painting itself was probably the hardest part of the job simply because he was attempting something totally new.
His advice for any artist is to “figure out what you care about in painting.” What kind of message or story do you want to portray? What excites or interests you? he asked. For Kortokrax, it began with taking a deeper look at two very different art styles and puzzling out what they meant to him.
Kortokrax’s compilation is currently being displayed in the art gallery on the Greenspring campus until Dec. 8. The gallery hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.