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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Beauty Has a Way of Surviving
Recent Work by John CorteseJohn Cortese is a unique and innovative contemporary American artist whose work has the universal appeal to transcend the barriers of both language and culture. Although primarily an abstract painter inspired by the abstract expressionist movement, John has also created a body of figurative work, the most notable being his stylized cityscape and structural images.

John works in many mediums, usually combining two or more to give his work the texture that is the key element for which he is known. He combines sculpture and painting in a way that is truly his own.

The genesis of his work is serendipitous in nature. He approaches it without precondition or intention of result, trusting his unorthodox techniques to bring forth what he calls "original accidents," most of which remain one-of-a-kind images, with a few serving as the basis for a series.

John does not believe that abstract art, or any art for that matter, must reflect an intentional message for the interpreter. His only intention is to use line, shape, color, and form to create what he regards as "metaphors for the uncertainties of life, because [abstract art] can depict uncertainty as beautiful. This offers the chance to embrace uncertainty, which is something we all must do in order to come to terms with our personal struggles."

For those who are curious about the personal meaning that John attaches to the creation, evolution and display of his work, he has written his definitive artist statement, Beauty Has A Way Of Surviving, in which he expresses his philosophy about his art. "From my perspective," he says, "my artwork is a poignant allegory that mirrors the history of human achievement and the search for truth. It occurs slowly and at great personal expense." John's complete statement is available below and will be posted with the exhibit.

Sammi Jean D'Amato

Mr. Cortese's work is owned by private collectors in Europe, Asia and North and Central America, and particularly in California, where he lived before moving to Connecticut. He now makes his home in New Britain, Connecticut. His web site is under construction at: Mr. Cortese's work is available for purchase; a portion of all sales will benefit the library.

Artist Statement

Homer Babbidge Library
Norman D. Stevens Gallery

Curator: Dennis Thornton