reviews

Eric Orr

Neil G. Ovsey Gallery

Eric Orr isn’t known as a painter, but for his broader interest in the perceptual process. Consequently, he is often clustered with Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Larry Bell, and Doug Wheeler, among others. Yet he sees himself as a primitive. His new paintings—monochromatic, lead-bordered voids with Barnett Newmanish zips, inlaid human hairs, gold-leaf gilding, and areas of the artist’s own blood—tend to support this self-conception. This is not to say that Orr is a shaman or a naive painter, but that his stance is essentially ontological, not purely phenomenological. The buzz in the eye matters less than the resonance in the soul.

To discuss these works in terms of the art of painting is almost irrelevant, except to say that they are painted well. Rather, it is helpful to think of them as psychic filters, alchemic systems, talismanic offerings, and prayers to the void. In some works, a crisp

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.