"How do we make meaning out of the seeming inexplicability of what's around us?" asks Doyle Gertjejansen. "My work deals with that 'Aha!' moment when we are on that cusp of experience where a body of information coalesces into an idea. That's how we as human beings became what we are." Spoken like the longtime teacher he is, Gertjejansen's words avoid reductive explanations and instead point toward how we might experience his art. His exuberant mixed-media paintings - basically gestural abstraction but full of allusions to representation and narrative as well as to styles such as Color Field and Surrealism invite the viewer to let their diverse elements coalesce in their vision and give rise to a joyous moment of participation.
Gertjejansen's latest paintings, a suite titled "Harbinger's Myth," are on view at Callan Contemporary in New Orleans through February 28. Made up of washes, marks, and gestures, they use acrylic, charcoal, and pastels, plus an unusual medium that the artist has been using since the mid-1990s, liquid graphite, which imparts to his paintings a paradoxical combination of liquidity and granularity. The influence of Arshile Gorky can be felt in "Harbinger's Myth" and is explicitly acknowledged in the title of one of the works, Gorky's Dilemma (2020).
A graduate of the studio and art history programs at the University of Minnesota, Gertjejansen was a professor of Fine Arts at the University of New Orleans for four decades, with 13 years spent as department chair. His paintings, drawings, monotypes, and sculptures have been shown in exhibitions around the world and have been acquired by prominent private, corporate, and institutional collections.