Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, “Flying Lesson Number Two,” oil, 27 1/2 x 35 1/2 inches

Magical themes and realism are combined beautifully in the paintings of Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, who is showcasing his recent works at Santa Fe’s Meyer Gallery now through November 2. “Overflight” features about 13 of the artist’s large-scale paintings, which often depict female figures surrounded by birds in flight — or even sprouting wings themselves to drift through a calm night sky. “From the sky,” the artist says, “you can see many beautiful things that go unnoticed when looking from the ground.”

“In ‘Journey Partner,’ a lavishly dressed female figure crouches by a resting horse with her eyes cast downward,” the gallery describes. “Hovering just above her head is a white flag, billowing in the soft breeze against a dark sky. Is it dusk or dawn? A strip of clear blue light illuminates the mountain range behind her as clouds with a purple tinge begin to overtake the darkness. According to the artist, the white flag represents peace; if the girl and horse were to stand up, leaving the ground where their eyes are fixed, it would be within their reach. Upon first glance, the flag could also be interpreted as a bed sheet, symbolizing the dream world in which the subjects exist. Mysterious and enchanting, Fernandez Ortega’s magical realism is open to the viewer’s interpretations.

Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, “Goal in Sight,” oil, 23 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches

“Wings, animals, and bright or incandescent objects act as symbols in Fernandez Ortega’s work, representing internal qualities such as freedom, goodness, and intelligence. Often revolving around a dominant feminine subject, these symbols weave mystifying messages and evoke visceral, subconscious emotions from the viewer. ‘I would like my paintings to help people understand themselves and each other,’ says Ortega. ‘I’m looking for connections between the subconscious and the realistic events that build our life.’

Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, “Dawn Overflight,” oil, 59 x 69 inches
Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, “From Another Time,” oil, 48 x 36 inches
Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, “Casual Encounter,” oil, 47 x 55 inches

“Fernandez Ortega’s skillfully realistic painting style and intuitive chiaroscuro technique draw us into his surreal environments with mesmerizing curiosity. Great 17th-century Spanish masters including Diego Velazquez inspire Fernandez Ortega, who currently resides in Durango, Mexico. By combining classical techniques with magical realism, Fernandez Ortega creates a style that is uniquely his own.”

Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, “Journey Partner,” oil, 55 x 71 inches

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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