Roger Mortimer’s paintings deploy imagery drawn from medieval illuminated manuscripts and historical maps to create surreal, visionary scenes. His early work also included sculptural elements, and he has demonstrated a willingness to work with a range of media and materials. Mortimer often uses found texts in his work, usually letters and documents sent by various government agencies and corporate bureaucracies, which he meticulously transcribes in calligraphic script. Mortimer’s work reads as part commentary on the trials and tribulations of contemporary life and part visionary quest; often, it is both at the same time. His works often depict images of violence and mortality, commenting on the ubiquity of such images in contemporary media and the long history of human fascination with the macabre and bizarre.
Mortimer graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts in 1999, and was the Paramount Award winner at the 2014 Wallace Art Awards. In 2017, Dilemma Hill, a survey of his work, was shown in public galleries in Auckland and Wellington.