A print work and collages exhibition, ‘Peripeteia’, by British artist David Orme is currently taking place at Studio 104 Fine Art Space in Valletta. The collection came to light during the artist’s time as a student at the Royal College of Art in London, reflecting a period of experimentation and investigation using print. New works are also part of the exhibition.
Conceived by Aristotle, the term Peripeteia defines a reversal of circumstance or turning point in a narrative. Each work in this exhibition attempts to present the viewer with a juncture. Orme’s muddled tableaus, while alluding to allegory, are obscured by duplicity. The influence of collage on Orme’s print is particularly evident in ‘The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery’ (2010). Unconventional in its composition, the lino-print marks an uncomfortable division between the conjurer and the audience, a relationship Orme describes as “the moment of revelation”.
While some works imply a story or suggest a theme, other works evolve into precarious, holistic arrangements, fragmented and more abstracted. The delicate process of cutting and pasting these hieroglyphic sections suggests vulnerability and a sense of transience.
Curator and owner of Studio 104 Michelle Morrissey is keen to promote print as a fine art medium in Malta, alongside the launch of her forthcoming print workshops. Orme’s exhibition highlights compositional techniques within print and collage works. The collages can be seen to inform print and vice versa. Aesthetics also shift as different print methods are explored, such as lithography, lino cut and screen print.
“My time at the Royal College of Art was valuable. It allowed me the intellectual space and technical resources to scrutinise my work and develop my practice,” says Orme.
Born in 1977, the artist spent his infancy on Canvey Island. Isolated from the mainland by a series of creeks, Canvey was a curious setting, prone to flooding. As a child, he would make small books, stapling together pocket-sized sheets of paper to draw a story. Invariably each story remained incomplete and imponderable, perhaps indicative of a general uncertainty.
“I continue to employ these strategies in my work, incorporating contemporary themes of anxiety and personal experience,” he says.
The exhibition, at Studio 104 Fine Art Space in St Lucy Street, Valletta, runs until March 8.