“It makes my heart sing!”
After more than five decades of involvement in the art world, this simple statement, made by a friend while looking at a splendid Monet painting, brought into bright clarity the way to know the genuine article–a real work of art. The paintings of Jenness Cortez make my heart sing.
All art is a dialogue, a conversation through the medium of the artwork between the artist and the viewer. It is the level of that dialogue that establishes the intrinsic value of a given work. Among the many characteristics of a real work of art, two are most significant and define both the quality and significance of the dialogue. The first is that what the artist is saying must be meaningful; the second, that it is clearly communicated and understood. In Cortez’ paintings, both criteria are more than fully met. The work talks to us at many levels and creates in us a sense of both understanding and well being. This happens because there is nothing arbitrary in Cortez’ paintings. The choice of the painting reproduced, the elements surrounding it, the space the elements occupy, the lighting, the color, everything is carefully selected and orchestrated following a fully articulated plan determined by the artist.
Currently C.E.O. of the Palos Verdes Art Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
He served as Executive Director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art for fifteen years,
and the Tucson, Arizona, Museum of Art for eleven years.