‘A Country of Wonders’

3rd – 25th Apr 2009

In this solo show of new large paintings Gill Ord presents a suite of mysterious landscapes. To call them landscapes indeed (and in fact the canvases are in ‘portrait’ configuration) is immediately to bring something into question. And that is precisely analogous to Ord’s practice. The interpretation she is tracking down is one of constant contra-diction: ‘if this, then this – but what if… ?’ Blocking and revealing, matching and interrupting, the colours and forms track and depart from their original source as though Ruisdael (whose Haarlempaintings, also in portrait orientation have a similar ratio of ‘sky’ to ‘land’ or flat colour to pattern) having analysed the landscape most familiar to him had found his brain functions short-circuited, and had to re-assemble the forms and colours as a way to access new areas of perception.

The mystery is constant in the self-questioning layers which float and coalesce, revealing further formal echoes while remaining resolutely of and from the painting itself. Ord refines from landscape and memory or even old photographs (the title comes from an old out-dated guide to Slovakia) and arcane theory, in order to isolate the cognitive processes required in applying the idea of a world out there on to the canvas. Paintings of ideas, of the idea of painting. An attempt to understand the world by other means than imitation.

“Ord’s discreet practice comes from a place where the relationship between idea and element is probably allowed to survive, prosper and develop over time…
The illusion, or allusion; the initial reference to ‘idea’, moves in a totally different relation to time, and allows in turn the opportunity for each picture to start again”,
Sacha Craddock, catalogue essay, 2004.