“Water is just my muse,” said Brooklyn-based Ran Ortner, who has been depicting the ocean in his work for decades. His huge oil murals are so breathtaking and realistic that some people stand inches from the canvas to see the brush strokes.
“In my art, I contemplate collisions of opposites, from the most tender brutalities to the most devastating sensitivities,” he said. “These paradoxes register within me and I can see myself within them. I am continually surprised by the reflection between me, as an individual, and the environment within which I exist.”
Late last year, Ortner's 19-foot-long rendering of the swelling sea won him $250,000 and first place in the ArtPrize competition in Michigan. “I've been struggling month to month for the last 30 years,” said Ortner, 50. “It's just so surreal … I'm still not believing it.”