2 june - 3 july , 2010
Jill Orr’s work centres on issues of the psycho-social and environmental where she draws on land and identities. Grappling with the balance and discord that exists between the human spirit, art and nature, Orr has, since the 1970’s, delighted, shocked and moved audiences through her performance installations.
This current body of work involved children from the Avoca Primary School as active participants in Orr’s performance. The result is a series of high contrast black and white photographic portraits, which are shown as diptychs portraying the different states of seeing both outwardly and inwardly. One of each pair frames the child looking directly at the camera. The gaze meets the viewer. Who is looking at whom? The second captures the child whose eyes are closed. An inner world is intimated, but not accessible to the viewer.
In terms of the ‘gaze’ these works turn to the child as conveyer of the imaginary engaging both within and without. ”I have found that creative acts require the visionary sensibilities of both the inner and outer world to operate simultaneously, consciously and unconsciously as dual aspects of the one action. In this instance the action is that of active imagination as a means to visualise sustainable futures.”. The portraits also reflect the present relationship to place that is etched into the faces of youth as already kissed by the harsh Australian sun.
Avoca is one of many townships that has been socially, economically and environmentally affected by drought and climate change. The portraits are created against this background.
Copyright: Jill Orr © (source photography: Christina Simons)
 Jill Orr, 2010.