Gilbert Ortiz: Back to New York
Gilbert Ortiz is a master of capturing tone and light in his compositions. His images are as diverse and timeless as the city itself, encompassing portraits of famous faces, artists, the working class and working poor; craftsmen, people of different cultures, landmarks and hidden gems; all taken while Ortiz lived and worked in the city he felt "he owned." Images of places that no longer exist, like Welfare Island, are featured alongside shots of gone but not forgotten faces like Muhammad Ali. Ortiz is a traditionalist, yet his prints will be bridging current technologies; the original images were shot exclusively on film and printed using the digital technology Ortiz has mastered. The show is very much about his ability to communicate his experiences of New York as eternal. The details change, but the street is always the street. Something NYers know well - despite the discomfort of that fact.
The exhibition pays homage to New York as it was while also reaching out to New Yorkers of today, whether they are natives, transplants or just passing through. Ortiz feels he lived in New York at its uniquely best and worst time. Worst in economic terms and best for the fact it was very free and loose, a time when just about anyone could reside in New York and it was just another place to live and to do your work. Ortiz himself says, "I owe a lot to New York and these images show New York at the time I was there 1970-2000. That's sort of what I want to give to people who live there now. New York is a city that embraces the artist; it embraces the young; it's one of the greatest places in the world."
Gilbert Ortiz got his start working for commercial photographer Richard Beattie. He has worked with sports figures ranging from Muhammad Ali to Freddie Roach, musicians Keith Richards and Tom Waits, and activist Cesar Chavez. He has collaborated with filmmaker Pablo Ferro, animators Vincent Caferelli, Fred Mogubgub and comic book artist Wallace Wood. His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine and on ABC's Emmy Award winning show, "FYI." He now resides back in his hometown of Los Angeles, California where he has recently shown work in solo and group exhibits. He is also staff photographer for Chicano Art Magazine.