Christopher Orr


Christopher Orr’s dark, diminutive oil paintings seem at first glance to have been salvaged from some alternate past. Employing an earthy palette of browns, reds, and ochers, and building surfaces on which areas of dry, scraped-back pigment are juxtaposed with richer, fresher-looking passages, the Scottish artist conjures a dramatic lost world in which characters, scenes, and objects culled from popular midcentury print media seem to have strayed into the sublime landscape visions of a nineteenth-century Romantic. But though united on the same canvases, these incongruous pairings tend to remain at odds; sharply defined figurative elements drift unmoored across muddily ethereal grounds as if literally cut-and-pasted, and the theme or mood of any given work is hard to establish with any certainty. In many of Orr’s most recent works, recognizable images have vanished altogether, subsumed by

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