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Tony Orrico: Penwald Drawings/CARBON

HANCOCK, MI €“ Tony Orrico: Penwald Drawings/CARBON will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from February 27 to March 19, 2014.

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the gallery on Thursday, February 27, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Orrico will present an artist talk beginning at 7:15 pm. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

€œPenwald Drawings/CARBON€ will be on display through March 19, 2014.

This exhibit is part of a weeklong artist residency with Finlandia University and Michigan Technological University. Orrico will be collaborating on research and exhibition with Finlandia University Gallery and the International School of Art & Design, along with Michigan Tech€™s Visual and Performing Arts and Computer Science Departments.

Through initiatives coming from both campuses, students and faculty from several concentrations at Finlandia and the Creative Drawing class in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech will be involved as Orrico works in The Mind Music Machine (tri-M) Lab, an interdisciplinary research group based in Cognitive and Learning Sciences and Computer Science at Michigan Tech. Materials from his collaboration with the lab will be on display in the Finlandia University Gallery exhibition.
Orrico€™s Penwald Drawings are a series of bilateral drawings in which Orrico explores the use of his body as a tool of measurement to inscribe geometries through movement.  He uses a physical practice, symmetry practice (circa 2005), as point of entry into this work.  In his termed “state of readiness”, he is interested in the application of a present body to a surface, object, or course.

His gestures derive from the limitation of (or spontaneous navigation within) the sphere of his outstretched arms.  Line density becomes a record of his mental and physical sustain as he commits his focus to a greater concept of balance throughout extended durations of drawing. Centralizing on themes of cyclic motion and the generation and regeneration of material, the work draws on the tension between what is fleeting and what is captured. The master of each drawing is a conceptual score of which he only produces eight times on paper in his lifetime.

Collete Copeland writes in her article Waxing and Waning: Tony Orrico at the MAC (Dallas€™ McKinney Avenue Contemporary), €œOrrico€™s practice is rooted in tenets of performance art including using the body as a tool, engaging in physically demanding actions which push the body to limits of endurance and challenging the viewer to engage in non-traditional viewing practices.€ Copeland continues, €œHis practice is one of exploration and wonder. He challenges all of us to engage with the world as a kinesthetic learner, using all of our senses to approach life with the curiosity of a child and the intellect of an adult.€

In the CARBON series, body, graphite, plane, time and space combine to become powerful reflections on life cycles, energetic flows and complementary opposites. His repetitious movements, often leading to exhaustion, become deep metaphors about life and death simultaneously.

Tony Orrico has performed/exhibited his work in the US, Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. His visual work is in collection at The National Academy of Sciences (Washington DC) and Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City) as well as prominent private collections. He has recently been presented at SCAD: deFINE ART, Cranbrook Art Museum, New Museum, and Poptech 2011: The World Rebalancing.  In June he will perform Penwald: 2: 8 circles: 8 gestures at Center Pompidou-Metz.

As a former member of Trisha Brown Dance Company and Shen Wei Dance Arts, Orrico has graced such stages as the Sydney Opera House, Teatro La Fenice, New York State Theater, and Théâtre du Palais-Royal. He was also one of a select group of artists to re-perform the work of Marina Abramovic during her retrospective at MoMA.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 7p.m. and Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment.
For more information, call 906-487-7500.

Photo captions:
Photo 1: Tony Orrico, /Vessel for Governing and Conception/ (2012).  Photo by Juan Cano.  Courtesy of the artist and MARSO.
Photo 2: Tony Orrico, Penwald 1: 1 circle (studio impression 1)2011, Image courtesy of Shoshana Wayne Gallery