A primary goal of systems neuroscience is to understand cortical function, which typically involves studying spontaneous and sensory-evoked cortical activity. Mounting evidence suggests a strong and complex relationship between the ongoing and evoked state. To date, most work in this area has been based on spiking in populations of neurons. While advantageous in many respects, this approach is limited in scope; it records the activities of a minority of neurons, and gives no direct indication of the underlying subthreshold dynamics. Membrane potential recordings can fill these gaps in our understanding, but are difficult to obtain in vivo. Here, we record subthreshold cortical visual responses in the ex vivo turtle eye-attached whole-brain preparation, which is ideally-suited to such a study. In the absence of visual stimulation, the network is 'synchronous'; neurons display network-mediated transitions between low- and high-conductance membrane potential states. The prevalence of these slow-wave transitions varies across turtles and recording sessions. Visual stimulation evokes similar high-conductance states, which are on average larger and less reliable when the ongoing state is more synchronous. Responses are muted when immediately preceded by large, spontaneous high-conductance events. Evoked spiking is sparse, highly variable across trials, and mediated by concerted synaptic inputs that are in general only very weakly correlated with inputs to nearby neurons. Together, these results highlight the multiplexed influence of the cortical network on the spontaneous and sensory-evoked activity of individual cortical neurons.