Solo Show! Phillips Gallery! Soon!

I’m delighted to announce my solo show at The Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah. It runs June 19 – July 10, 2015. The opening is on Friday night, June 19th at 7:00. I hope to see you there!


The work Party Game will be in the show.

A person can get lost in an old photo. A person might wonder what the weather was like outside, did they ride in a wagon to the studio, what did they have for breakfast.

Did their house have an attic?

Did they have a dog?

Was it a full moon?

From the wondering it’s a short step to:

Party Game Corinne Geertsen

Party Game

Train Wreck at the Tempe History Museum

I am quite delighted to have one of my pictures, Behind Curtain Number One, now in the permanent collection of the Tempe History Museum. So grateful that the museum allows me to use bits of their wonderful photo collection as source material.

Here is Joshua Roffler, Curator of Collections, taking delivery of the work last month.

Joshua Roffler, Curator of Collections at Tempe History Museum

Joshua Roffler, Curator of Collections at Tempe History Museum

In 2016 I’ll be having a solo show there which will feature their collection. Click here to go to the Museum’s mission statement. It’s a unique place, a great place.

Here’s a better look at Behind Curtain Number One, starring a 1902 train wreck on Ash Avenue Bridge in Tempe:

Behind Curtain Number One Corinne Geertsen

Behind Curtain Number One

And finally, in the spirit of train wrecks everywhere, here is the train wreck in Buster Keaton’s 1927 silent film “The General”.

trainwreckBusterKeaton from Reddit

The scene was filmed in one take with, yes, a real train. Run to Wikipedia and read all about the film. (Train wreck footage is from Reddit.)

Smolder Sisters by Amity Wilczek

Here’s a wonderful new poem for the poetry project: Smolder Sisters by Amity Wilczek

Smolder Sisters Corinne Geertsen

Smolder Sisters

don’t you know, a building burnt becomes a castle
and a ruin is more romantic, by far
but who knew there would be so much black smoke?

it will be better.
shielded still by stone walls from the gaze of curious cars
easier than ever to follow birds in flight

divisions and clutter seared away
everything reduced to tower and turret
and from within we can look up unencumbered to the sky

Fantastic. I’ve read this poem so many times and I still want to read it again. Many thanks to Amity, who is the Dean of Deep Springs College and lives in the high desert of eastern California. The high desert is so very lucky to have her.

Springville Show Review – The Truthful Surreal

Grand Tour by Corinne Geertsen, digital art, digital collage

Grand Tour

Ehrin Clark wrote a well crafted review of my show in Springville, Utah, up until April 26th. It’s published in 15 Bytes, Utah’s Arts Magazine. Many thanks to Ehrin Clark!

The Truthful Surreal
Corinne Geertsen at the Springville Museum of Art

Narrative painting, in the form of history painting, was once the pinnacle of Western art, the zenith of Alberti’s 15th-century treatise on painting, and a prerequisite for anyone seeking access to prestigious academies in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the advent of modernism, narrative’s importance waned, while the notion of what narrative could be became more flexible, more malleable to new conceptual frameworks. In the past half century narrative has become an increasingly prevalent strategy for artists, so that today narrative is not only a common tool but also a common theme with which to explore the parameters of a post-historical context. When deftly employed by artists like Utah’s Corinne Geertsen, a BYU grad (B.A. and M.F.A.) who is showing this month at the Springville Museum of Art, narrative is a very effective way to evoke a sense of engagement, pushing a viewer to invest their sensibilities in the artwork. In her digital photo collages featuring 19th-century photographs of men in top hats and girls in frilly dresses mixing with a menagerie of animals against fanciful backdrops, Geertsen uses sensitivity, finesse and a droll sense of humor to create psychologically compelling narratives imbued both with a sense of nostalgia and a universal reach.

Geertsen’s strengths are clear in a work like “Picnic,” which is not really a picnic. It is as bucolic as any picnic should be, but takes place on an island so small it can barely fit one small palm tree and two inhabitants: the great lioness, gazing out to sea; and the young chestnut-haired girl in a pea-green frock, perhaps 12, who rests her elbow comfortably on the head of the lioness, her head in her palm as she stares with the gaze of eternity into the eyes of the viewer. Certain qualities about this image grip the sensibilities like a vise, taking hold and, stopping one in one’s path, causing the viewer to question who and what and where and why and when… and how? Most certainly the surreal element of the very lovely scene causes this line of questioning… it is nothing but impossible and only fantastical, and so much so that it causes a sense of detachment into its own reality that the viewer hopes to understand. The lioness is so at ease on her island, but how did she get there and why is she so content to stay? And why is this young girl, with a pale face and dark eyes in her Sunday best, sitting atop this lioness, and why does she have a look in her eyes so utterly tranquil that the viewer is sure she has been there since the beginning of time and will remain to see it through to the end?

Here Geertsen has created a surreal world from which the viewer is totally detached, but at the same time causes certain sensibilities to transgress this detachment; there is a curious feeling of “otherness,” a sense of something present yet at the same moment distant, a feeling of timelessness, yet without being able to catch hold of any fragment of it, confrontation so close yet with a displacement as distant as the sea itself, and a wanting to get a grip on the reality of it and knowing that is a fruitless impossibility, and ultimately, having to let it simply be so.

A lesser sense of the impossible is evoked in “Tornado,” but it is still imbued with a sense of the surreal and a sensibility of wanting to get a grip on the actuality of it possesses the viewer. A young girl in a dark violet dress sits restlessly in the center of a cushioned bench of teal green. Could she be a grandmother, a great-aunt, seen here in adolescence? Her historical presence is palpably felt yet genuinely brought to the present to incorporate the surreal space in which she, herself, has been placed. To her left is a painting — a large baroque gilded frame surrounds a composition with shrubs, a large sky, and a sinewy tornado. To her right is a much larger, white-framed window. It is closed, and frames in the distance another whirling tornado. Again, in this painting, there is a sense of surreal timelessness, of a duration that exists somewhere outside of time. Memory and recollection create meaning, filling in the canvas, giving life to the girl, and giving space to the sealed room by going beyond the window and connecting the phenomena inside the painting and outside the room. Again, it is the viewer’s sensibilities that respond to the indicators of the image, allowing for impossibility while acknowledging the possibility of the powers of cognition, of memory, of recollection, of attachment, connectivity, and the power over detachment.

If one approaches Geertsen’s pieces with a certain power of authority, realizing that one’s sensibilities are not powerless but have a place in her surreal discourse, that this surreality can come to life for sensible cognition, an entirely surreal canvas such as “Clouded” can become accessible, albeit distilled, as always, in its own reality and time. A woman is standing tall astride a flying carpet. She wears a Victorian black dress, and her head, quite literally, is in a cloud. The details are all wholly realistic, but their combination surreal. Yet as surreal as this image might be, as removed from one’s own reality, one may find a connection with the flight of freedom, and relate the Victorian sensibility of the woman who before the age of suffragettes has her shoulders bared, and her head in the clouds. In this light an image like “Grand Tour” — with its parasol-wielding baby astride a tiger walking on a tractor tire in a plowed field — need not be so foreign. Again, it exists in its own surreality, but the viewer need not question who, what, where, when, why, and how… but may join in the journey with this odd pair, feel the excited vigor of this baby who peers forward, and get “lost” in this narrative as one is intended to.

The individual elements of Geertsen’s works are very concrete, if for no other reason than that they are photographic. Their deft mixture, however, creates surreal narratives of mysterious attraction, which in turn open up for the viewer access to memory, to recollection, to meaning; they become immensely engaging, sending the viewer on adventures of wonderment and excitement, and become, if only for a few moments, entirely possible.

Feathered Hat by Jenny Pace

Hat With Feathers Corinne Geertsen

Hat With Feathers

This just in: some clever and delightful lines penned by Jenny Pace about the picture Hat with Feathers.

Jenny will be receiving Hat with Feathers, a work from a small and exclusive edition. I am assembling a show of your writing with my pictures. The poem Feathered Hat will be in the show, which is tentatively titled Alphabet Soup.

Are you interested in writing a poem and joining us in the show? Please go to the page Call to Poets. Now. You’ll be glad you did.

Here is the poem Feathered Hat. Enjoy!

Stylish, though it was, she had her doubts,
Possessing, as she did, a fickle taste,
Looking, in the glass, she turned about,
Checking the effect on eyes and waist.

Questioning, aloud, “Is it too tall?”
Knowing, in a flash, that she would wear it,
Perceiving, “lack of color, that is all”,
Seeing just the spot to fit a parrot.


Water Music

Water Music Corinne Geertsen

Water Music

The first performance of Handel’s Water Music: At about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 July 1717, King George I boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Palace for an excursion up the Thames. The barge rode the rising tide upstream with no one rowing.

Fifty musicians performed the music on another barge floating nearby. The river was filled with boats of listeners. The king was pleased. The performance was repeated three times.

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there.

Here’s a private performance of Water Music. The barge is much smaller – we pass this small boat in a pond on a 600 mile yearly drive. Every year it’s a bit more submerged. But the music is beautiful.


Emissary Corinne Geertsen


When I was small my Christmas wish was for a horse. Always for a horse.  Now my wish is for peace on earth. I deeply wish for that. May this Emissary bring us peace on earth.

Photoshop note: to give this peaceful rider an iridescent skirt I photographed a large soap bubble, selected it as a transparency and applied it to the skirt with a blending mode. I finished with a bit of digital painting to make sure the colors were in the right places.

I’m hoping someone chooses this picture to write a poem about. If your poem is selected you get the picture! See this post.


I’m busy assembling an art show of your poems and my work.

Choose a work from the pictures on my two Portfolio pages that speaks to you, whispers to you, yells to you. Write a poem relating to the picture, word limit 50-200 words.

I am quite excited to see your work. You can submit two poems if you like.

If your poem is selected, your poem and the corresponding picture will be displayed together in a show titled The Footnote Chronicles. Each selected poet will receive a work from a small edition of the picture that they wrote about.

Submit the poem by email (see contact page for address) along with a short bio (no longer than 50 words).

The cut off date for submission is June 30, 2016.

I’ll be writing posts about how this poetry project is coming along. Sign up at the top of the column to the right to receive the latests posts by email, so you don’t miss anything.

You may want to look at the portfolio pages later on. As poems and pictures are matched I will be adding new pictures.

Here’s a picture I recently finished. Someone wrote a wonderful poem about it and has already received their artwork.

Smolder Sisters Corinne Geertsen

Smolder Sisters

Black Friday Offer: Squirrel Moon!

To the first five people: Purchase Squirrel Moon for $50 + shipping from Arizona.

This print is not offered by my galleries. It will bring you the good luck of fortunate voyages throughout your life!

Squirrel Moon by Corinne Geertsen, digital art, digital collage

Squirrel Moon

Squirrel Moon is printed on 8.5″ X 11″ archival paper. I print them myself so they are exactly right. Edition of 150.

All you have to do is sign up to receive the latest posts by email if you’re not already signed up (in the column to the right, at the top). Then email me from my contact page.

If you are one of the first five to respond, I’ll send you purchase information and Squirrel Moon is yours.

Behind Curtain Number One

Behind Curtain Number One Corinne Geertsen

Behind Curtain Number One

Many thanks to the Tempe History Museum, which offered me astonishing source photos for this new work.

Of course, we’re all wondering what’s behind Curtain Number Two. And Curtain Number Three! I don’t even want to go there.

Here’s a Library of Congress photo showing the train from a different angle. The caption is: 1902 VIEW SHOWING TRAIN WRECK ON MARICOPA AND PHOENIX RAILROAD CAUSED BY BRIDGE FAILURE RESULTING FROM FLOOD DAMAGE – ASH AVENUE BRIDGE. Hmm. A few years ago, but not far from my house.