April 13, 2010 - ArtSway - Christopher Orr
April 13, 2010

Christopher Orr

Christopher Orr
The Dark Light Years, 2010
Oil on linen
19 x 23 cm
Image courtesy of the artist and IBID PROJECTS, London

Christopher Orr
24 April – 20 June 2010

Opening Reception:
Saturday 24 April 2010, 2pm – 5pm

Station Road, Sway
Hampshire, SO41 6BA
United Kingdom


ArtSway is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Christopher Orr. Christopher Orr was artist in residence at ArtSway in September and October 2009. A 60-page full colour publication designed by Herman Lelie, with critical texts by John Slyce and Hugh Brigstocke, published by the Arts University College at Bournemouth in association with ArtSway, accompanies the exhibition.

Christopher Orr is a painter of great technique and imagination, and one who is acutely aware of the grand tradition of painting. His paintings have the appearance of precious, jewel-like objects and are usually small in scale. They are characterised by elements of Romanticism and the Sublime, and usually feature small but intricately detailed figures and objects within deceptively large and ethereal landscapes. This juxtaposition of scale – a direct reference to the grandiose scale inherent in the work of the old masters – is tempered by figures and objects within Orr’s work that suggest the everyday, the intimate and the overlooked.

The figures, objects and animals that populated Orr’s work up to the summer of 2009 were appropriated from an array of early to mid twentieth-century books and manuals – with the artist deliberately manipulating the placement and scale of the figures in his work to create a sense of unease. Orr’s most recent body of work in the summer of 2009 featured paintings based on a series of appropriated black and white images that were deliberately lacking in detail compared to similar images the artist had used as the basis of his work in the past, with the results being far looser in style.

Christopher Orr’s new paintings at ArtSway signify a further shift within his practice, as the artist has abandoned virtually all reference to animals, figures and objects that characterised his work in the past, turning his focus almost entirely to landscape, and in particular the more romantic and bombastic landscape traditions of old masters such as Caspar David Friedrich, and particularly the background landscapes of French Rococo masters such as Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Jean-Antoine Watteau. It is significant to note that Orr saw his time in residence at ArtSway, which is based in the rural New Forest, as affording him the space – both mental and physical – to refresh his practice, to take himself out of his usual urban context, and to inspire himself to undertake a new body of work. Christopher Orr’s new paintings are a significant step forward in his practice; they are the bridge that spans old and new ideas in his work, and are as exciting and original as anything the artist has done before.

Christopher Orr Biography
Christopher Orr was born in Helensburg, Scotland in 1967. He studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee (1996 – 2000) and at the Royal College of Art, London (2001 – 2003). His numerous solo exhibitions include Strong to Heal, IBID PROJECTS (Hoxton Square), London (2008); Nyehaus, New York, USA (2007), and Before and After Science, Arndt & Partner, Berlin, Germany (2004). Selected group exhibitions include: Where the Wild Things Are, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Scotland (2006); Don Quijote, Witte de With, Rotterdam, Holland, (2006); Ideal Worlds, Romanticism in contemporary art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany, (2006); London in Zürich, curated by Gregor Muir at Hauser & Wirth, Zürich (2005); Tate Triennial, curated by Beatrix Ruf at Tate Britain, London (2006); Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative, curated by Jens Hoffman at Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2007) and Old School, Hauser & Wirth, London (2007).

Christopher Orr lives and works in London and is represented by IBID PROJECTS, London and Hauser & Wirth, Zürich.

Christopher Orr will be in conversation with ArtSway’s Curator Peter Bonnell at ArtSway on Saturday 24 April 2010, to coincide with the opening of his exhibition and launch of a new publication.

Press contact:
Jack Lewis, Press & Marketing Officer
T: +44 (0)1590 682260 (+6)
E: jack.lewis@artsway.org.uk


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