A new exhibition from Sydney-based artist Orson Heidrich
Image: Daphne Nguyen.
Last month, Sydney-based mixed media artist Orson Heidrich debuted his body of work Mechanical Advantage at Station Gallery in Sydney. Having been selected for the Art Incubator Development program 2022, the show serves as a culmination of three years spent conceptualising and creating work throughout the program. The result is a series of sand cast aluminium sculptures, CNC machine-cut low relief aluminium wall plates and embossed and debossed pressed tin artworks.
Across the body of work, Heidrich explores the relationship between artist and industry through the creation of sculptural and wall-based artworks, that places equal importance on the manufacturing process as it does on the physical outcome. Beginning with a photographic series shot on an iPhone at industrial workshops, Heidrich is a self-confessed “complex manufacturer”. Building a network of mechanical services, he draws on different people and their craft within the industrial realm, drawing on the capabilities of these extremely skilled servicemen to assist in crafting 3D artworks born from a 2D plane. He leverages these mechanical services as a way to produce an artwork outside of his own means. His expansion of the photographic practice into these pushed and aberrated abstracted forms of the photographic process has culminated in a curated collection of works follows from production to outcome.
With training in photography, the moving image and installation, Heidrich’s unique take on deconstructing a JPEG to use its information to transform a 2D plane into a 3D object directly informs his practice. “When I work with a body of images, what I'm kind of doing is I am looking at the image kind of as more of an encapsulation of information. So in these specific works, what I'm doing is using the information inside the composition to set the parameters for its spatial qualities. In easier terms, I'm using the blacks and the whites as certain values and I'm giving those values depth. It's a thing called a bitmap extrusion.” This method of creating allows the artist to plot the depths from the information attained through the image on a spatial chart that allows him to reinterpret the image as a 3D object. He notes of his methodology, “I think there's something that's really interesting in that where you are condensing the 3D space into a 2D plane when you're taking an image, but then through this kind of processing I'm doing, I'm re-expanding that 2D image into the 3D space. And then through this processing, I'm re-spitting it back out into a kind of physicalised form, and that's I guess the end product that you see.”
Images: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.
Upon entering the gallery, you’re met with two pieces that Heidrich describes as “the linchpin of the show”, Cut - Male and Cut - Female. All the pieces within the show are derived from these two aluminium press plates, also offering insight into the process behind bringing the body of work to life. Across the room sits Cut- Relief, which borrows from the visual language of the press plates and showcases the precise detailing of the machining, juxtaposing the more rounded and softened nature of the plates. The exhibition centres itself around Form, a cast injection aluminium sculpture. The striking piece meets its viewer in the galleries second room, suspended from the ceiling above a reflective black surface that speaks to the framing of Extrusion (Aluminium), Extrusion (Mesh) and Extrusion (Aluminium), three die pressed aluminium pieces that hang opposite Form.
We’re offered more insight into the creation of Form with Form (Maquette), a slip cast that reveals more of the original texture of the 3D print. With Maquette, the audience can see the remnants of how the work was made, we can see the plastic filament that was created in the 3D print which plays into the earlier established idea that process is just as imperative as outcome. Male, Female and Maquette offer information of where these works originated and what they’ve been moulded into.
Heidrich has exhibited extensively throughout Sydney and Australia; and has works held in public and private collections in Australia and overseas. His previous exhibitions in Sydney include Yavuz Gallery (Sydney, 2021) which canvased emerging artists from around Australia, Solo at Cool Change Gallery (Perth, 2021) and Tributaries Gallery (Canberra, 2020), Schmick Gallery (Sydney, 2021), AirSpace Gallery (Sydney, 2020), as well as exhibitions at KINGS Gallery (Melbourne, 2022) and at the MONA FOMA (Launceston Workers Club) with Rosie Deacon (Launceston, 2019), UTS Gallery (Sydney, 2017); with upcoming solo exhibitions at Woollahra Gallery, (Sydney, 2023). Heidrich’s international exhibitions include shows with Caves International (Syrios, Greece 2022), Proto A4 (Cape Town, SA, 2020) and Comm-Post (Mexico, 2020) as well as an upcoming international solo in Chennai, India in partnership with aluminium manufacturers Tastec and Hindalco (2022).
OPEN TUESDAY-FRIDAY, 10AM - 5PM
GADIGAL / SYDNEY SUITE 201 20 BAYSWATER ROAD POTTS POINT NEW SOUTH WALES 2011 AUSTRALIA P: +61 2 9055 4688
MECHANICAL ADVANTAGES CLOSES NOVEMBER 5. HEIDRICH WILL HOST AN ARTIST TALK AT THE GALLERY FROM 3PM.