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Ambiguous Nature - Paintings by Orlanda Broom

'Ambiguous Nature’ an exhibition of paintings by Orlanda Broom will be open to the public from July 19th until August 14th. Public opening times are Mon-Fri 10am to 4pm.

Press Release

Orlanda Broom is a contemporary fine artist based in London until recently moving to Hampshire. She primarily works with mixed media applied on large-scale canvases resulting in awe-inspiring compositions. The exhibition ‘Ambiguous Nature' will showcase a selection of her latest landscape paintings. The striking feature of Orlanda's compositions is the handling of the media involved in their realisation. The landscapes explode in a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes that dominate the viewer's senses. That she enjoys working on very large-scale canvasses also contributes to the all-encompassing experience. The paintings embrace the audience with the seductive nature of the translucent and colour-saturating resin glossed on the surface as well as with the enchanting harmony between vivid and also subtle colour values.

Moreover, the mysterious compositions of her work reflect on the uncertainty of what the future holds for the environment in a period of climate change. The dark and glowing landscapes in this exhibition are contrasted with luminous and serene compositions.  On the one hand, the effect of the former is one where dark and metallic purples, petrol-like blacks, and fiery crimsons recall to mind the gloomy landscapes from a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic play. On the other hand, the exotic and vivacious scenes are perceived as being like ‘eye candy’, irresistible and seductive in their playfulness. Yet, one can find some murky, bleak aspects in them which are revealed on closer inspection as signs of preliminary symptoms of change within the landscape… they are ambiguous in nature.

The power of Orlanda’s painting also rests in their ability to stimulate synesthetic experiences in the viewer. Synesthesia is a condition which encompasses an overlapping of the senses. An example would be when stimuli associated with a physical sense such as sight are also perceived via a secondary sense such as hearing. In this way, one may be hearing colours or tasting shapes. Artists such as Kandinsky experimented on sensorial perceptions in the early 20th century. His paintings, where shapes and colours are meant to be perceived as harmonious musical rhythms, invite/encourage the viewer to think of musical compositions. Orlanda Broom's landscape compositions are the ultimate experience where mother nature, rendered through abstracted shapes, brilliant colours and varnishes, stimulates the viewer's sensorial perceptions to their limits. One can smell the blues and purples in her compositions and hear the thrust of the shapes stretching within the canvas. Therefore, Orlanda's artworks appeal for their powerful force to speak to a universal audience yet providing unique and subjective experiences.

On her landscape compositions, Orlanda remarked the following:

‘My paintings are lush, colourful landscapes that exist as part of a fantastical, re-imagined world. I apply a hyper-saturated view of each landscape and, with no references to human or animal existence, these places could predict our planet's future or hark back to its evolution. 

The initial joyousness, the lure of beauty and colour is tempered by an uneasy sense of abandonment, there’s a toxicity implied in the palette and strange formations. I use resin, which has a glasslike finish and echoes the sappy excretions that the plants might exude. There's a dichotomy between wanting to explore such a place and the inevitable entrapment should you find yourself there. 

The themes in my current body of work are both bleak in outlook and celebratory in nature… the inertia towards environmental destruction seems inevitable but with that doom-heavy prediction comes belief or hope that nature will rule out and take the planet back to square one… a restart.’

The exhibition will also include a selection of Orlanda’s abstract compositions. These have subtle references to her landscape paintings by using recognisable shapes (such as those of flowers). Echoes of organic forms, colour patterns, and forms are arranged so that a pure synesthetic experience is achieved through abstraction. When describing the distinct feature of this series, in comparison with her landscape painting, Orlanda remarked: ‘This is a very different process of working, it's much more immediate and quite different from working on my Landscapes which are made with a traditional approach using brushes, working up a layered and defined composition.'

Orlanda Broom has exhibited regularly in London and internationally since completing her MA in 1997. Her paintings have been selected for curated shows and competitions including the Threadneedle Prize, NOAC, RA Summer Exhibition and long-listed for John Moores Painting Prize 2018. As a self-represented artist, her work has been exhibited on invitation at Messums Wiltshire, Mehta Bell Projects, Long & Ryle and James Freeman Gallery as well as in galleries in Cape Town, Portugal and Paris. Her work is regularly commissioned and Orlanda undertakes large-scale works for public spaces.

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