Richard Orjis

Bio.

Worlds teeming with dramatic rituals…[1]

Sparkling and heady new rites, whether initatiatory, propitiary or funerary appear throughout the work of Richard Orjis. Cycles of growth and decay are manifest throughout idiosyncratic ceremonies captured in large, rich, alluring, colourful and slick photographic prints.

Orjis’ quest is to explore the latent meanings contained within a host of different materials in the hope that they might somehow be transcended. This shaman-like exploration involves careful placement and varied lighting techniques so that each potent material contributes its own colour, texture, sensation and takes its place (usually before a black background) within an iconography of spiritual substances. The hothouse perfection of lurid flowers is combined with the wilderness of dandelions, grasses, and weeds. Anything which could possibly be white or bright is also displayed: bones, dough, bedsheets, clay, smoke, snow, flour, stars, porcelain, plaster and crystal. Soil, mud and coal-dust reappear, as do ferocious dogs and android-like golden figures. Dazzling jewels, tinsel wigs, precious metals and stones are also included within Orjis’ contemporary rituals.

Within the controlled environment of the studio, installations and tableaux are carefully constructed by Orjis. A particular sort of portraiture sees young men impossibly bedecked with cascades of exotic and overbred flowers, becoming a unique sort of hybrid-floral-still-life. Auspicious arrangements of bones and candles combine with doughy terrains to create a melange of landscape and genre-painting. More recently bejewelled flowers have featured beside andriod-like figures wrought from multiple layers of photographs of bevelled gemstones, gold-plated links and shiny stremer wigs. These large-scale scenarios are built layer by layer with a combination of photography and digital manipulation. Initial photographs of objects are cut, spliced and super-imposed in order to create images heavy with excess, overflowing with intricate and interweaving details.

Orjis has also been known to photograph meadows filled with flowers and in 2010 initiated a public art project at Te Tuhi where a druidic circle of lawn was allowed to grow freely into a patch of wild grasses and flowers. His practice is an alternation between growth and the inert, nature and artifice, ritual and the banal. Ever-present is an ecclesiastic delight in the rarefied and toxic as well as the savage, tenebrous, slightly disturbing and sublime.

*

Richard Orjis (b. 1979)  lives and works in Auckland and completed his Masters at the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2006. He has exhibited extensively within local and international in artist-run spaces, private galleries and public institutions. Recent solo exhibitions and projects include: Garden Cities of Tomorrow (Melanie Roger Gallery & Sarjeant Gallery, 2015), Home (Corbans Estate Arts Centre, 2014), Walking in Trees (Auckland Council Pop Project, 2014) Richard Orjis: So Give me The Night (Papakura Art Gallery, 2012), of quiet volcanoes (Melanie Roger Gallery, 2012), Fields (McNamara Gallery, Whanganui, 2011) Grass Circle (Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, 2010 - 2012) , Silver Park (High Street Project, Christchurch, 2010) My Empire of Dirt (Roger Williams Contemporary, 2009). He has been included in group exhibitions within New Zealand and internationally and in 2014 was part of a major collaborative exhibition "We are but Dust and Shadow" with Tessa Laird and Tiffany Singh at Melanie Roger Gallery.  This was also the year he was the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residence at the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui.  Orjis’ work is held in private and public collections including: The University of Auckland, the Jenny Gibbs Collection (Auckland), the Film Archive (Wellington), the Wallace Trust collection (Auckland) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport Collection (Madrid, Spain). His work to date was the subject of a monograph Park in 2012 and he is regularly included in art publications both nationally and internationally includign Art New Zealand, Art and Australia and White Fungus.  Orjis is currently working on a major ongoing outdoor public project - Hauora: Graden of Health and Happiness - with A.D. Schierning at Studio One in Ponsonby.

For additional information and a complete CV please contact the gallery.

[1] Tessa Laird ‘The botany of desire: Richard Orjis’ Gardens of Earthly Delight’ in Art & Australia Vol. 49 No. 1 Spring 2011.

Selected Media.

  1. THE APRON: STREET ART INNOVATION
    Art Bop
    2016
  2. FRIENDS: RICHARD ORJIS
    Interview, Gubb and Mackie
    2015
  3. GARDEN CITIES OF TOMORROW
    Greg Donson & Richard Orjis interview, Sarjeant Gallery catalogue
    2015
  4. RICHARD ORJIS DISCUSSES GARDEN CITIES OF TOMORROW
    Vimeo, Melanie Roger Gallery
    2015
  5. ARCANIA IN SATIN PAJAMAS: A RICHARD ORJIS LEXICON
    Tessa Laird, Papakura Art Gallery catalogue
    2013
  6. ORJIS AT MELANIE ROGER GALLERY
    John Hurrell, Eyecontact review
    2012
  7. THE BOTANY OF DESIRE
    Tessa Laird, Art & Australia
    2011
  8. RICHARD ORJIS PERFORMANCE
    Andrea Bell, Eyecontact review
    2010
  9. RICHARD ORJIS
    Warwick Brown, Seen This Century, Godwit
    2009
  10. SECRETS OF THE SOIL: RICHARD ORJIS AND HIS EMPIRE OF DIRT
    Tessa Laird, White Fungus
    2008
  11. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
    The Gravy
    2008
  12. RICHARD ORJIS
    Harry McNaughten, No Magazine
    2007

News.

  1. Richard Orjis | The Valley of Hope
  2. LIYEN CHONG, RICHARD ORJIS & PATRICK POUND | Bright Lights, Soft Launch | Malcolm Smith Gallery
  3. Richard Orjis | Rimbun Dahan Residency, Malaysia
  4. Kirstin Carlin & Richard Orjis | The First Flower People | Nathan Homestead
  5. Richard Orjis | The Apron | Tauranga Art Gallery
  6. GAVIN HURLEY & RICHARD ORJIS | Certainly Very Merry | Tim Melville Gallery
  7. Richard Orjis & Ruth Cleland | Suburban Dreams | Dowse Art Museum
  8. Florence and Friends | Flotsam and Jetsam Pop-up Project
  9. RICHARD ORJIS | GARDEN CITIES OF TOMORROW | Catalogue Publication
  10. Public Programmes | RICHARD ORJIS Artist Talk
  11. RICHARD ORJIS | Implicated and Immune | Michael Lett Gallery
  12. RICHARD ORJIS | The Ark: Garden Cities of Tomorrow | Sarjeant Gallery
  13. RICHARD ORJIS | Home | Corbans Estate Arts Centre
  14. RICHARD ORJIS | Hauora: Garden of Health and Happiness
  15. RICHARD ORJIS | Pasture Paintings | Auckland City
  16. Richard Orjis | Crane Brothers Collaboration II
  17. RICHARD ORJIS | Walking in Trees
  18. ART NEW ZEALAND Magazine texts
  19. Richard Orjis | Crane Brothers collaboration
  20. ERICA VAN ZON, RICHARD ORJIS and TESSA LAIRD | Slip Cast | Dowse Art Museum
  21. Richard Orjis | Tylee Cottage Residency 2014
  22. RICHARD ORJIS | Headcount | Enjoy Gallery
  23. Gavin Hurley & Richard Orjis in Man-Made | Dowse Art Museum