Friday, 7 September 2012

Christopher Orr - Cleiking the Deil at Ibid Projects

Christopher Orr’s work embodies uncertainty, mystery and doubt through portraits of people from the recent past and landscapes suspended between reality and illusion.
His new body of work focuses on the figurative where his subjects appear deeply occupied with undefined activities, incongruous with the painting’s background. Characters, scenes and objects are lifted from the artist’s collection of science and history magazines, its pages serving as a free association of material from the natural world to folklore. The title of the show, Cleiking the Deil (catching the devil by his leg), references a parish tradition in Scotland revolving around the story of St Ronan, who is traditionally depicted with his crook attacking Satan, dispelling evil from our midst.
Christopher Orr's recent paintings are confident in their execution and in part he references a Romanticist ideal. Yet here some of the scenes feel different, man seems to be more isolated and detached. Instead of idealized historical events or allegories we find representations of rather unadorned men and women from everyday life who seem to be removed from reality, engrossed in some sort of obscure undertaking or ruled by something indiscernible.
The canvases of Christopher Orr depict landscapes populated by figures from a past time. Oscillating between figuration and abstraction, landscape backgrounds are in some instances rendered through matrix-like checkerboards, foreshadowing the real. Earthy palettes of colour build up the compositions that in some places have been scraped off to reveal the bare canvas beneath. Combining often ordinary source materials to produce extraordinary juxtapositions, Orr creates a painterly vision that is entirely his own.
25 August - 29 September 2012

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