rozelle studios

Owen Ratner

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  • Artist Statement

    I have been a lawyer for well over 40 years. I have always drawn and painted. In 2013 I retired as a partner in the law firm where I work although I continue to practice as a part time consultant. This change has allowed me to focus more on my painting.


    I have studied, part time over many years, at various art schools including Julian Ashton Art School and more recently at National Art School. I won the inaugural Pyrmont Art Prize in 2007 and was a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize in 2009. I have also exhibited in the Glebe Art Prize and participated in group exhibitions.


    Although I am still experimenting in both subject matter and style, a common theme in my work is the portrayal of narrative both in the relationship between individuals and within larger groups and in the representation of their surrounds such as interiors, city scapes and rural settings.


    I am inspired by the observation of people and places. I look for the connection between people, a touch or a gesture, or on the other hand, disengagement, by the placement of a building in a landscape or an object in an interior setting.


    I am influenced in my painting, among others, by Hopper, Morandi, Vallotton, Gaugin and Diebenkorn.


    I practise my figure work twice a week at sketch clubs. I paint only in oils using traditional methods. I usually take photos of scenes around the city, when I travel and at events such as weddings, sometimes randomly, but usually because I see a glimpse of something that might be interesting. I then look more closely for subjects in the photos that connect with me. I extract what I want by either drawing the subject and transferring it to the canvas or drawing directly onto the canvas. I quite often compose paintings from multiple photos.