Working with a lexicon of primarily geometric shapes drawn from his go-to materials, Ortbal questions and reinvents them using simple methods of stacking, folding, cutting, and painting. While employing particular tropes, his work invites interpretation and re-interpretation. They are not representative nor descriptive but referential, and by working and reworking his inventory of forms, he expands their meaning and abstract physicality.
The tumescent, biomorphic forms of Midnight and Still Warm also embody the yin/yang attraction of the repugnant and the compelling. Sardonically humorous, the bulbous globules of foam frosted with plaster, resin, flock and paint suggest emergent, mutant spawn. Ominously fascinating, they hold our gaze and provocatively question the complex issues of the real versus fake and our cultural obsession with the “new and improved.”