Ran Ortner, an oil painter from Brooklyn, won the Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan this month. He'll receive $250,000 for winning by receiving the most votes from members of the public.
Here is his artist statement from his website. I thought it might be interesting to read in light of your manifesto project.
In my art, I contemplate collisions of opposites, from the most tender brutalities to the most devastating sensitivities. 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. As Robert Lax said, “The blood within and the brine without.”
I often think about Rollo May’s idea that “sustained intensity equals ecstasy.” Every day I enter my studio, prepare my materials and, as James Joyce said, “go for the millionth time to encounter the reality of experience.” I find that sustaining the encounter with life’s biting reality is not “miserablism,” but rather intense engagement. The undeniable union of life and death is not dire but majestic as evidensed by the inevitable crash of each cresting wave. In a tempest, distinctions blur registering in me as the rhythm of life’s dance. Life’s beauty is magnificent as it hangs at the edge of death, insisting upon its relevance.