The Art Gallery at MCC: 50 Years of Collecting

Corinne Geertsen and Jennifer Campbell

Corinne Geertsen and Jennifer Campbell

The handsome new Art Gallery at MCC opened with the show “50 Years of Collecting”.

I’m delighted to have a work in a show along with Calder and Goya. In the photo above I’m on the left and the very capable Jennifer Campbell, Gallery Coordinator, is on the right.

Behind Jennifer is a superb lithograph by Wayne Kimball, titled Two Seriously Diseased Feet. I am proud to say we have one of these hanging in our house.

You must come see the show and enjoy the gallery. Don’t miss the mesquite doors and the gorgeous light. The show is up until March 25. Details here.

Here’s my work in the show, Interview.

Interview Corinne Geertsen


The Footnote Chronicles and … YOU!

Long story short, you get to be in a museum AND you get art. Here’s how:

Choose a work from the pictures on either of my portfolio pages, here on my website, that speaks to you, whispers to you, yells to you, grabs you by the collar.

Write something, word limit 50-200 words. It needs to be somewhat about the art work you chose. It could be a small story, a small poem, some thoughts, some musings, a letter, a riff. A footnote. Some lines.

You can do two submissions, if you like. Your work can be anonymous if you prefer.

If your writing is selected, your words and the corresponding work will be displayed together in a solo show at The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. We get a whole room to ourselves. The show is titled The Footnote Chronicles. We’re going to be great together.

The Footnote Chronicles will run from September 9, 2016 to January 8, 2017.

The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum really knows how to put on a party on opening night. Ours will be 6-10pm September 9, 2016.

Each selected writer will receive a signed, small, original print of the art work they wrote about. I’ve already mailed 7 prints.

Submit your writing by email.

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

Here’s a picture I recently finished. Robert Frost wrote about it, but you can too:

Stopping by Woods Corinne Geertsen

Stopping by Woods

Talk about Charm

20151017 Gebert Delivery

I’m on the left and on the right is the fabulous Stacy Barr of the Gebert Contemporary Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. I just delivered the ten pictures you see on the floor and will bring in a few more this week.

Here’s my most recent work, Charm.

Charm might be about someone who always gets her way, and whose victims feel grateful for her attention, up to the moment they aren’t.

Charm Corinne Geertsen



Also up on the walls of the Gebert right now is new work by Kaori Takamura. I’m a fan. She works on canvas with marvelous combinations of silk screen and stitching.

Scraps/Chokoreito Kaori Takamura

Scraps/Chokoreito by Kaori Takamura

Come on down for the Scottsdale ArtWalk, this Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 7pm-9 pm.

Phillips Gallery Opening – Wow

What a time we had. The gallery was packed with interesting people and spirits were high. Click to see my work in the show (then click the giraffe picture, then the owls).

Plenty of great conversations

Charles Uibel’s photographs are made of light. Here is Linking Partnerships:
Charles Uibel Linking Partnerships

Click to see more of Charles Uibel’s work. (Click on the landscape above the Dibble Gallery, then the storm landscapes) Here’s Charles and I:

Here’s the Phillips during a quiet moment:

The show is a great mix of 3 floors of art plus a sculpture deck and courtyard sculpture garden. It will be up until July 17th. And of course you can come anytime after that to see work by the artists in the show.

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.