Panel at Mesa Arts Center Show

Corinne Geertsen Mesa Arts Center

Here is the information panel the Mesa Arts Center made for my show “Psychological Sight Seeing”:

Corinne Geertsen grew up in Montana. Her father was a psychologist who regularly discussed his cases at the dinner table. This early exposure to psychology greatly impacted her art and inspired her interest in psychological situations. As a child, she enjoyed animals and incorporates many four legged creatures in her work. At the age of seven, she even dragged a horse home and put him in the backyard, in case he was lost.

Geertsen received her BA degree in painting and drawing from Brigham Young University, and later acquired her MFA. She became interested in Photoshop and started exploring all of the possibilities the computer program offered. She began by restoring old family photos, and from this, she started experimenting an creating whimsical narratives withn surrealist-like settings. Geertsen often uses humor to convey the psychological state of the depicted characters, playfully placing many of them in fanciful, and often times, precarious predicaments.

Geertsen gains inspiration for her carefully contrived scenes from various sources. She draws from historic sources and museum shows, as seen in Bird Walker. In this piece, Geertsen derives her composition from Joseph Cornell’s 1935 mixed media assemblage Tilly Losch, a shadow box depicting a famous actress and dancer of the same name.

Geertsen’s work can be compared to Victorian photocollages, which were fashionable with wealthy ladies of leisure during the nineteenth cenury. Aristocratic women would pass the time creating whimsical, playful scenes from photographs, clip art and wtercolors. This form of collage was popularized by Avant-garde artists and became part of mainstream culture in the early twentieth century. With the development of technology, digital medium enables artist like Geertsen to explore new fealms of creativity and manipulate images like never before.

Today, Geertsen lives and works in Mesa, Arizona.

Artist Statement
My pictures are quirky visual narratives about psychological predicaents. They pull a lot of subconscious strings. I especially love a good plight.

The pictures are digital composites. I work from my expanding library of over 20,000 images including my photographs, old family photos and scans. Often I paint something, photograph it and add it in digitally. The characters are usually family ancestors. I’m on a constant photographic scavenger hunt, outfitting them with backdrops, sidekicks and belongings. The pictures lean toward surrealism, as they have odd juxtapositions, non sequiturs and an element of surprise.

I’m always happy when my pictures are funny but true. The nature of humor is very difficult to work with. To take a picture into the stratosphere where it becomes art is hard. I like to work within this difficult intersection.