Flipping Reality On Its Head
Writer William Goldman once opined that the difference between art and popular entertainment might be that entertainment comforts, but art should unsettle us; prompt us to ask questions. Erik Orr’s paintings immediately prompt us to wonder what we are looking at: is this a painting or a photograph? When you take into account that his subjects are primarily iconic figures in popular entertainment, music, culture, comics, and videogames, then Goldman’s proposition comes under challenge. The familiarity of celebrity faces may seem to offer accessible pop pleasures, but the presentation of the artist won’t quite allow us such a cushy perspective.
In his most recent artist’s statement, Orr describes his intentions: “My more recent works use techniques that blend traditional painting through a filter of digital technology, the works create optical illusions that will make you question your own eyes. At a time when we experience our world through screens of all sizes, these works flip that reality on its head and present paintings that look as if they are digital images from afar.”
Orr builds his portraits with organic vertical lines that suggest a photograph enlarged beyond what its quality should allow, yet such a question is made almost moot in the limitless digital resolution of the moment. His work straddles the divide between digital and analog both functionally and conceptually.
“In my current show, New Work, at Revelry Boutique Gallery I intend the work to showcase the culture that has influenced me to become the artist I am today.”
Orr resides in the Highlands of Louisville Kentucky with his wife and two young children. He is employed as a Graphic Designer at a marketing company and plans to continue to grow and show his work more frequently in the coming years.
New Work runs through September 6 at Revelry Boutique & Gallery.
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia
Education: Associates Degree in Communication Design, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA); BA, Art and Visual Technology with a Minor in Art History George Mason University
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.