Altered Scapes by Orlanda Broom
One of Orlanda Brooms’s paintings is titled Flowerscrum and it's such a great way of describing her saturated colour jungle entanglements. Sprawling nature writ large and colourful with fantastical exoticism and plants that seem to display almost human characteristics.
She has recently completed a body of work during the seemingly endless lockdown and many of these will be included in a new show Rewild, opening today. Working on various surfaces – including wood panel and, for the first time on large scale works, aluminium – Broom's style combines abstract, iridescent forms with more figurative elements. Inspired by botanical guides and photographs of her past travels, the plants here are rendered with a fluorescent, almost artificial palette.
The lockdown has been a difficult time for many of us and Orlanda speaks frankly about the challenges she has faced and how she has essentially painted her way through it:
'This body of work spans a difficult period in which working/painting keep me personally on a level… engaging with the same ideas but needing to take a positive, fun and empowered stance. I’ve felt the need for more playfulness and so plants have taken on almost anthropomorphic qualities. Like characters they rise to their destiny…. to take over the planet, they are powerful and dominating.
Rewild by Orlanda Broom
I’ve found myself seeking more colour and vibrancy as a reaction to the pandemic. I am still working along the deeper themes of environmental decline and a post-post-apocalyptic scenario with a resurgence of plants and absence of human/animal… the global re-set that seems inevitable. However, this has felt quite heavy in the midst of the pandemic… and consciously or not I’ve leaned towards something lighter, restorative, positive in terms of colour and playfulness in the new body of work. In recent years I have been painting landscapes which are fantastical places… tapping into our innate understanding of the exotic and lush… I think this environment is somehow lodged into our psyche.
I want my paintings to be enticing visually but for there to be more that reveals itself look beyond to a more gnarly underside. I like the idea of dropping the viewer into this paradise and slowly it transforms into a sickly, thorny place… you realise no humans have been here perhaps it’s not so alluring anymore. I like the analogy of fruit that is ripe but at the point of turning rotten… I think there’s an element of this is some of my paintings - this idea of abundance, fullness treading a fine line between being overwhelming, suffocating.
The Bends by Orlanda Broom
I purposefully leave out any traces of human or animal habitation… this place has the potential to be past or future… I think of them more often now as ‘future-scapes’. I now see these landscapes as a prediction - what the future holds for our planet and a return to balance, absent of humankind. There’s a dark, dystopian element to the underlying theme but I’m also celebrating nature and optimistic about light returning in some distant future, a regeneration and restorative age. Nature is romanticised and I explore that tradition with these slightly surreal landscapes, there’s a decorative element that’s played upon. Tapping in on our connection to the landscape and nature and particularly at the moment – how important that connection is.'
We are very excited to see the work that she will be presenting for the Flora & Fauna Edition of the Art Car Boot Fair on May 15th.
Meanwhile we encourage you to visit Rewild at The Grove Square Galleries, 156 New Cavendish Street, W1. The show opens today and runs until June 11.
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