View the portfolio of 8 works (including 2 bonus etchings) here.
Eight Horizons is a series of etchings by Tom Ormond which explore how selected colour choices draw out different characteristics from the same image, taking an ‘ad-hoc escape pod - come - time machine’ to subtly alternate places.
Whilst making the etching Ormond worked on a large oil painting of the same image, which can be viewed in the artist's biography and information section below. Traditionally, detailed etchings have been made after paintings, or been used as studies before the final execution of a painting. Here the two processes developed simultaneously and informed one another along the way. The different coloured inks of the etchings highlight stages in the development in the painting, and the re-worked areas of the painting show a graphic resolution achieved through the etching. At one point in the process layers of paint and accumulated marks might suggest a future architectural project, at another, after reworking and adjustment the particular combination might suggest a past engineering folly. Each chosen colour allows for further examination of these brief moments in the life of a painting, and also refer to the types of reference materials the artist draws on for the construction of the image, such as blue-prints, homespun design-manuals and architect’s doodles.
The titles of the eight individual prints suggest names of paint from a DIY colour range, adding to the associative potential of colour, for example ‘Ranger’ - evokes a green bucolic certainty, or ‘Zaza’ - seems to onomatopoeically suggest a loud zinging ‘hi-viz’ orange. The titles are actually taken from a list of deliberately innocuous names chosen by the American government for its series of nuclear tests and atomic weapons program. In 2007 Ormond visited a number of nuclear research facilities and test sites across the U.S. including Trinity at Whitesands Missile Range in New Mexico - where the first atomic bomb was detonated. Ormond recalls the odd paradox between the often benign reality of the desert testing grounds, and knowledge of the enormity of what actually occurred there. Sparsely dotted about these vast desert laboratories were the remnants of research structures in varying stages of decay, be it from exposure to the desert sun and wind, or the immense forces of nuclear blasts. Ormond blends memories of these structures (which as a visitor he was forbidden to photograph) with official documentation to create a complex planet like structure of indeterminate scale.
Whilst in the U.S. Ormond also visited a number of experimental communities where ideas of science and architecture were put to the test. Sites including; Drop City in Colorado – a defunct artistic domed community, Biosphere 2 in Arizona – a prototype Mars colony consisting of huge greenhouses containing an ocean and rainforest, also Earth Haven in North Carolina - a secluded woodland eco-village. Experiences and imagery from all the sites visited on this US trip, ranging from the large-scale and destructive to the small-scale and constructive, combine in Ormond’s continuing body of work.
Tom Ormond’s paintings carefully select idealised English landscapes and inject a sense of the surreal or fantastical into them. Nostalgia pervades many of his canvases in which the vision for a better life is articulated.
Recently, Ormond has expanded his practice to include etching, the results of which are found in Eight Horizons. The prints display the artist’s fascination with the potential and outcome of the drawing, doodling and sketching processes. In his own words, ‘Faced with myriad possibilities, each choice, decision and colour has the potential to take the doodler-sketcher-planner, and their ad hoc shelter-come-planet, to a new realm. One colour may suggest a specific medium implying particular associations, another may draw out aspects of the structure’s Heath Robinson make-up, and propel it into a certain timeframe or genre.’
The etching process takes the doodle, sketch or plan to another level. It allows for multiple and varied versions, options not so simple with the one off drawing.
The mechanical and chemical processes of etching are tangible, and allow the directness of a hand-produced line to be retained.
Tom Ormond was born in Derbyshire in 1974. He gained a BA in Fine Art at Loughborough in 1996 and an MA in fine art at Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 2005. In 1998 he completed an internship in the curatorial departments of Film and Video, and Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Ormond’s recent shows include Gone Tomorrow, Gone Tomorrow Gallery, London, 2005; Graduate Selection, MLP Offices, London, 2005; The Law of Large Numbers, Cell Project Space, London 2005-6; Circuit Diagram, Cell Project Space, London, 2006; In the darkest hour there may be light: Works from Damien Hirst's Murderme Collection, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2006; George Polke Invites, George Polke Gallery, London, 2006; Houses in Motion, Fieldgate Gallery, London, 2006 and Tom Ormond, Alison Jacques Gallery, London, 2008. Tom Ormond has works in the following collections: The New Art Museum, Walsall; Deutsche Bank – Works on Paper and Damien Hirst’s Murderme collection. He is represented by Alison Jacques Gallery.
The artist lives and works in London.