at Barry Whistler Gallery through october 13
by Todd Camplin
Ah, Barry Whistler, your gallery has hosted another killer show with Tom Orr’s “Delicious Poison” installation.
I have seen Orr’s work lately in small doses, but this show is a real optical adventure land.
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|Back when I was in grad school, I had the extreme pleasure of visiting his studio. I arrived earlier
than my class and Orr and Frances Bagley let me flip through their collection of old Art Forums.
When my class arrived we toured a warehouse size studio space split into several rooms. Both
Orr and Bagley had production and display rooms. With such a large space, I can see how
Orr is able to experiment with large material to create his eye catching installations. In part, Orr
uses Op art ideas to play with your visual experience, but real light and shadow play a large
role in his sculptural pieces. Orr tends to choose transparent objects and then he layers these
shapes on top of each other to create illusions similar to the effects of Bridget Riley’s paintings
or Carlos Cruz-Diez work. Orr’s illusion goes further, however, for his objects of glass, metal, and
wire seem so effortlessly laid against the wall, like found objects you might encounter arranged
outside a construction site.
|I am a fan of flat, glossy, digital looking art. I think more and more that the crispness of design and
glossiness of image will define our age. One piece that may exemplify our age is titled “Delicious
Poison,” it is an Epson photo print with UV matte on laminate that uses plaid patterns. The image
is an uneven sized diptych. One is square with thick clusters of dark lines overlapping yellow,
which is next to a blue panel with black lines on a larger rectangle.
|Several sculptures cast shadows across the wall or floor. These are like drawn lines that seem to
extend the visual information of the sculptural shapes. At first, “Invisible History,” looked like a
model of a building frame or city scape, but then metaphors seem to drop away and all I was
left with was the experience of shadow and lines.
|Tom Orr’s show will be up until October 13th, but I think this particular exhibition will stay fresh in my
memory for a long time. Like when I was coming back from Turkey and I was leaving DFW airport,
and there in front of me was a massive Orr piece. I was nearly floored then by just one piece,
but I am completely flabbergasted by this show now.