He made his mark as a young figurative painter and drawer after attending the Norwegian “Nerderum School” as a teenager. Bjertnes’ paintings frequently display portraits, where a playful tone meets the images complex relationships. These perspectives have in the latest years formed a unique language. Each work is a new discovery equipped with its own codes and instruments, an exciting artistic style that both stays true to classical figuration, as well as experimenting with conceptualism. His works, Bjertnes states, are focused on the community between the works and the viewer as an aesthetic experience. This transition between styles have had a groundbreaking effect on Bjertnes’ oeuvre, where the focus is the exploration in itself, both of the arts own possibilities and of himself.
His first solo exhibition was at the Norwegian gallery Anarchist Fraction runned by Bjarne Melgaard in 2000, a natural starting point as the two artists has developed close affiliation, both personally and creatively. Their relationship led to Bjertnes first international solo exhibition, which was held at White Columns Gallery in New York in 2012. The exhibition was curated by Melgaard, and was called “A projective identification,” where the gallery walls was coved in bold colors and patterns, with portraits of carefully chosen depiction, of a variety of subjects, from Jesus Christ to the artist’s wife. This way of having his exhibitions curated has become one of Bjertnes’ trademarks, where the rooms were filled up to the edge with paintings, drawings, films, and wooden – and bronze sculptures. The aesthetic experience is in focus, but at the same time one can recognize what Melgaard points out, as he commented on the effect of his curating as “of trying to express emotions that become colder and colder the more you try to express them.” The exhibition was named one of the 10 best exhibitions in New York in 2012, by the New York Times.
The two artists also sheared a booth at the Armory Show the same year, which was an ironic tribute to the art dealer extraordinaire Mary Boone, who is represented by high-end women’s power suits and crude drawings. The booth was intended as a whole installation work, a conceptual piece that was named one of the best boots at the Armory Show, also by New York Times.
In January 2014, Bjertnes showed in a much celebrated solo exhibition at the Oslo-based museum Stenersen Museet.
Bjertnes has been represented in Norway by Galleri Brandstrup since 2014.