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Mark Kortnik

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The excitement of discovering new artistic imagery will always be of great inspiration to me and to those who experience my work. Since moving from Sacramento, California, in 1986, where I received my Bachelor of fine Arts degree, I now make my home near the snow capped mountains that surround the NE Oregon town of Joseph. I am a full time professional oil painter whose main influences come from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it. My wife, who is also an artist, and I feel that the art we create speaks of a concerned awareness of the fragility of our environment and its diverse forms of natural life. I work from photos and drawings taken from my outdoor explorations to achieve the realistic effects I want in my paintings.

Recently my interest has turned towards painting ancient Indian rock art called petroglyphs. In my paintings, I depict Pacific Northwest rock art designs that I discover while photographing the sites. I then paint from the photos when I return to my studio. People always comment to me on how much my paintings look like real stone surfaces. I have learned that these two thousand year old symbols on stone may represent great mythical stories, important dreams, or magical and religious events. My personal belief is that the ancient rock art represents rnan's fundamental need to seek out answers to the questions of his existence and to communicate some sense of his experience with the natural and supernatural order of life. I believe that the petroglyphs sites themselves are a kind of meeting place spiritually between primitive man, nature and his conception of Deity.

Lately, I have developed a series of paintings based on the oldest paintings known to man, found in Southern France at the famous Lascaux, Cosquer and Chauvet Cave sites discovered from 1940 to 1994. After remaining in the dark for thousands of centuries, the discovery of these prehistoric cave drawings this century have provided the basis for my new series of paintings. These Ice age animal images are dated from 17,000 to 30,000 years old. They prove invaluable insight into the life of our Paleolithic ancestors and the mysteries of our ancient past.

I sense a connection with those ancient artists and those primal impulses that moved them to express themselves creatively. I hope that you too will experience a unique connection through the excitement of experiencing my original oil paintings and Limited Edition Prints.