In State of Flux Dan Lorrimer presents an interconnected series of sculptures which respond to his ongoing fascination with the concepts of ‘motion, force, illusion, growth and decay.’ Lorrimer’s chosen material is sheet metal which he manipulates within huge hydraulic presses to create a raw working material full of the palimpsest markings of its passage through the machines. Pitted, scored, folded and compressed, the metal is inevitably imbued with related possibilities, such as its presence as a simulacra for the geological forces that shape our planet. Tectonic movements cause mountains to rise yet counter forces of water and wind erode these heights, dissolving them back into their constituent components and returning them to the sea before accumulating again, solidifying and rising once more into monoliths such as Uluru. Lorrimer reinforces this allusion further by deliberately aging the metal using acids, and the resultant pieces have been previously described as resembling ‘remnants of a forgotten civilization, or simply emerged out of the earth.’ In the diverse components comprising State of Flux, similar perceptions are both inevitable and welcome.
The apparent stability of the Earth is an illusion and, likewise, Lorrimer’s sculptures are akin to static points frozen within the entropic process. Turn away for a moment and the sensation is that they will have altered by the time the eye returns to regard them anew. Consider, for example, the related forms of Point of Contact II and the Space-Displace (micro) series where the columnar forms emerge from their source, stretch, burst and reconnect again. At one angle they resemble debris flung out from a meteorite strike but there is also strong similarity to the prismatic rock columns of the Tasman Peninsula or to the formations found at Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway. Technically, Lorrimer’s visual language is part of the global Minimalist conversation but – importantly – it is one imbued with a local dialect. In this pluralist world, such regional responses are hugely significant and have their own validity, and the professionalism and critically-informed base of Lorrimer’s work emphatically underscores this point. He also plays with perception and expectation in his larger, more monolithic works because these pieces are usually hollow. The solidity here is all surface much like the illusionary immortality of human life itself. That said, the inverse is true of the tiny Space-Displace (micro) works that are densely solid and weighty, a strategy which creates a contrasting sense of monumentality.
It is a truism that the presence of humanity is a mere blink in the geological and evolutionary history of this planet but such is the arrogance of our species that we have been instrumental in far more environmental damage than any other plant or fauna in time. It should be celebrated then that the experience of standing in the presence of Dan Lorrimer’s sculptures triggers the one crucial thing in all good artistic practice – they cause the viewer to stop and consider their own relative unimportance whilst marveling at the thought-provoking insights and enduring skill of the artist.
1. Dan Lorrimer, e-mail to author 20.01.17
2. Vanessa Wright, Fragment: a solo exhibition by Dan Lorrimer, catalogue essay, ANCA, Canberra, ACT, 2014
Essay by Andrew Gaynor 2017