In 1966, at the age of five, Ran Ortner moved from San Francisco to rural Alaska. He and his family lived in an isolated log cabin, with no running water, a wood fire for heat and a grass airstrip for a driveway. To escape the brutal winters, Ran and his family would take their single engine Cessna “Ragwing” on 3-4 month adventures from Alaska to South America. On these expeditions, Ran would turn to the open expanse of the sea to escape the confines of his unconventional childhood. When Ran was eighteen, he left home and began surfing the waves off the coasts of California and Mexico. While surfing he was able to consider both the wondrous and perilous conditions of life. Overwhelmed by what he saw and felt, he turned to art as a form of exploration. Ran has lived and worked in New York City since 1990 - he continues to surf.
In my art, I contemplate the collision of opposites, from tender brutalities to the devastating sensitivities. Every day I enter my studio, prepare my materials and, as James Joyce said, “go for the millionth time to encounter the reality of the experience.”I attempt through painting to sustain my encounter with life’s biting reality.