Sidney & Matilda Gallery

31.05.19 – 16.06.19


Pronoun:  A large number or amount; a great deal.  Adverb:  A great deal; much.  Noun:  A particular group or set of people or things.  An item or set of items for sale at an auction.   The making of a decision by random selection, especially by a method involving the choice of one from a number of pieces of folded paper, one of which has a concealed mark.  A person’s luck, situation, or destiny in life.  A plot of land assigned for sale or for a particular use.

L O T unites a series of new works by artist David Orme: Like abstruse cabinets of curiosity, Orme’s large-scale collages and framed fragments exhibit an assortment of quirky forms which stimulate interpretation.  These cohesive arrangements lay bare a system of making, a methodology that echoes the practice of collecting and curating.  

Orme paints acrylic washes onto large sheets of cotton twill before cutting and drawing onto them, continuing this intuitive process of cutting and redrawing until a new shape reveals itself.   This innate process of creating, making value judgements and nurturing an enigmatic dialogue between fragments is evident in the collages. 

The titles of the works on display are inspired by a short story by Virginia Woolf titled: ‘Solid Objects’.  In the short story the protagonist named John discovers a mysterious object buried in the sand on the beach.  The strange object, made from what appears to be glass, incites an obsession to seek and collect similar objects, estranged from function.  Parallels can be drawn between John’s pursuit for new objects and Orme’s studio practice; the liminal spaces in which John finds (himself and) the abstract objects, is akin to the studio space, a realm in which transformative actions occur and new forms and structures emerge.

Besides being drawn to the discovery and invention of new, esoteric forms Orme is also inspired by the utility and potency of objects such as sentimental keepsakes, artefacts from folklore, apotropaic charms, religious relics, travel souvenirs, grave goods and votive offerings.

Apotropaic Objects

I recently completed a small series of objects in glazed ceramic.  Only about 20cm tall, they resemble upturned tools, having a ‘handle’ and a ‘head’.  The forms echo the tactile process and malleability of clay from which they instinctively emerged… (which might go some way to explaining the organic, scatalogical (!) shape and colour of the objects).  

Dead Leaves

The current exhibition at 36 Lime Street by artist David Orme takes its inspiration from a passage in Thomas Mann’s novel, Magic Mountain. In the novel the protagonist Hans Castorp visits a relative staying at a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, however the intended short visit extends to a lengthy stay of several years. In one particular chapter, Excurses on the Sense of Time the protagonist ponders his visit to the sanatorium, “I shall never cease to find it strange that the time seems to go so slowly in a new place…”. [1] In the digression Mann remarks upon the abstraction of time perception when encountering unfamiliar surroundings, expanding upon the interrelationship between novelty and slowness, monotony and swiftness: 

‘Our first days in a new place time has a youthful, that is to say, a broad and sweeping, flow, persisting for some six or eight days.  Then, as one “gets used to the place” a gradual shrinkage makes itself felt.  He who clings or, better expressed, wishes to cling to life will shudder to see how the days grow light and lighter, how they scurry by like dead leaves, until the last week, or some four, perhaps, is uncannily fugitive and fleet”. [2]

The exhibition installation, a continuum of the creative process, will allow for spatial and temporal exploration.  During the installation period Orme will utilise the newness of the gallery space; making use of the liminal interval; he will concede to the gallery’s formation and allow idiosyncratic compositions to form, nurturing their transitoriness.  The creative process  and the sense of time described in Mann’s novel  can both be identified as being liminal: 

In anthropology, liminality […] is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete’. [3]

Working predominantly from a reserve of painted and cut fabric shapes, the body of work on display at 36 Lime Street is in continual flux.  Orme’s practise examines the disparate ways in which we (individually and collectively) experience liminality; notions of liminality are alluded to by employing specific processes and materials.  His fabric collages are loosely draped or pinned directly to the gallery wall in singular or multiple arrangements, existing as peripatetic assemblages, which emerge from a process of continual revision.

[1] [2] Thomas Mann; Magic Mountain; Penguin Modern Classic reprinted 1971; Translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter

[3] Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality#Rites_of_passage