Rene Gortat is a New York City-based artist of Polish descent currently working towards his MFA at Syracuse University. In 2012, he earned a BA in Art and a BA in Philosophy from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, where he first discovered the satisfaction of creation as an artform.
At the age of nine, Rene and his family immigrated from a small village in Poland to a slightly bigger New York City. Throughout his life, Rene has moved, on average, once a year. This constant movement created a sense of adventure but also a sense of instability. His work reflects his relationship to travel, migration, and movement by focusing on the struggle between the certain and uncertain.
Prior to coming to Syracuse, Rene worked as an art handler where he had the opportunity to touch and examine works of art that are typically hidden behind glass, or otherwise forbidden to the touch. There he learned the level of professionalism and obsession required to create successful work.
This series of work explores the endless possibilities within a preset framework of limitations by celebrating the strength of creativity, determination, and obsession. Everyday experiences, interactions, philosophical thought, and random occurrences provide the groundwork for idea development.
During construction these items were treated as three dimensional objects, rather than traditional paintings. Layers of paint created coats of color. The variation in the thickness of the paint and medium allowed for a more sculptural approach. Hidden shapes and colors could be sanded back up to the surface to reveal a more organic substance to contrast the sharp geometric shapes. The gloss white frames control and shape how much of the the visual information is shared, as one would carefully choose words in order to create an appropriate sentence for a specific situation. This project directly mirrors the ideas and concepts needed for its own creation. The limitations of time, ability, mental power, opportunity, and personality are all revealed in the completed objects. Additional limitations were added voluntarily, in order to increase personal growth and encourage experimentation.
Maps are the foundation for this series and are based on my relationship to travel, migration and movement, which started at the age of nine when my family and I migrated from a small village in Poland to NYC. This displacement shattered my understanding of home. Ever since, I have been exploring various environments, searching for a place to call home.