Altoona offers works of Emerging Artist in Residence Gorcoff

"New Works," by Penn State Altoona’s Emerging Artist in Residence, Jason Gorcoff, will be on exhibit from March 14 to April 14, in the Sheetz Gallery of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts. A reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. March 14, in the Titelman Study of the Misciagna Center.

Gorcoff was raised on the east end of Long Island, N.Y. He studied sculpture and drawing at Maine College of Art and received his master of fine arts degree from Indiana State University with a concentration in painting. His work is heavily influenced by 1980s film posters and 17th century Dutch and Italian paintings.

Gorcoff stated, “I grew up on popular culture: films, video games and comic books. The illustrations for movie posters and game cartridges were often very realistic as were the special effects in the various horror and science fiction films. I was inspired by their realism and dramatic subject matter. This is the visual language from my youth and also the language that I emulate in my work. The themes of my paintings are often personal and the ideas are not all that complicated. I am drawn toward stories of good and evil or human conflict in general. With my images I hope to be able to express a simple dynamic of struggle and longing that exists in life. And above all else, I try to create an image of physical beauty.

“I consider my roots to be in the commercial art world and that popular culture’s standards of craft introduced me to realism. But, recently my work has begun to heavily reference 17th century Dutch and Italian painting. There is a ‘quiet’ that exists among the religious drama of the Tenebrists that I greatly admire: a sense of something deeply spiritual. The act of painting has become part of my spirituality. A necessity. I am spending long hours with myself each day, meditating. Time spent in the studio is time spent battling -- battling your own will within your own mind.

“Formally, representational work is an illusion: an illusion of form and space on a two-dimensional surface. In short, it is a lie. But it can do many things to a viewer. The world of stories -- the world of heroes, monsters, horror and fiction -- are all illusions. They show us a place that does not exist. But this is a world that says many things about the world we inhabit. It is a world that uses metaphor to illustrate how life feels but not how it actually is. It is a world that can freeze a moment and meditate on its fleeting content. As Stephen King puts it: ‘Fiction is the truth inside the lie.’

“With my paintings I do not offer the viewer any concrete moral about our world. I do not tell them what to distrust or critique, or what social or political demons to be wary of. On the contrary, I attempt to offer them escape … a look into a world, where hopefully they will find a place of strange beauty and mystery.”

The Galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and before and during all performances. For further information, call the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts at 814-949-5452.

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Last Updated March 26, 2013