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Maury Gortemiller

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

The images in the series “Make Believe” are in direct response to Donald Trump’s 1987 book The Art of the Deal. While Trump’s personality and reputation certainly form a considerable presence in the series, the images are not meant to refer specifically to the President or to the present political climate. Rather, the work is, at times, intended to parody the braggadocio and surliness of the authorial voice. In other instances, images evoke human qualities that I identify as absent in the text, such as humility, a capacity for wonder, and a recognition of one’s shortcomings. Each image title derives from one specific page of the book via a Dadaist “cut-up” approach, in which specific words and phrases are redacted or decontextualized and reordered. A counterpoint then emerges which underscores the ideology of the original text. I intend the images and reconfigured text as an antidote and corrective to unbridled masculinity, egotism and nationalism.

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