Never quite knowing. Old is new. Rules are to be broken.

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What the word artist implies is looking for something all the time, without ever quite finding it in full. It is the very opposite of saying “I know all about it. I’ve already found it. As far as I’m concerned, the word means, “I’m looking. I’m hunting. I’m fully involved.”

–Vincent Van Gogh to Theo, from an interview with Ran Ortner, who paints the ocean.

From the interview:

It wasn’t until I read Thomas Merton that I came upon something that helped me. He said there’s nothing as old and as tiresome as human novelty. There’s nothing as immediate and new as that which is most ancient, which is always in the process of becoming. Wow, I thought, that is exactly how I experience the ocean.

Something happens to time when you’re painting. You’re able to bring the span of your entire life into this one moment and into these few materials.

That’s what makes art great. It’s a physical object that carries some of the magic back from the mysterious place. Something I have brought back with me from the descent, a token of the experience.

A scientist, a monk, and an artist are all looking for the same thing, some deeper reality outside of themselves, or inside themselves.

The rules of the contemporary art world are crystal clear . . . .if one works with representation one must use irony, social commentary or wit in the work to avoid becoming saccarine or decorative.

Ran Ortner

Sorry, but gonna have to break those rules . . . as Ortner himself does.

 

 

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