Digital Ether – Dan Lorrimer

Sculptor Dan Lorrimer recently held his debut solo show at CCAS Manuka, curated by Vanessa Wright. I wrote the following review for the latest issue of BMA, but the exhibition has closed now. I’m terribly sorry to rub salt in your wounds.

The tumultuous twelve months that follow graduation from art school are a time when some artists are finally able to let go and dig in. They may not have been the students who had the most celebrated exit, may not have been the ones with the most accolades, but their creative fires stay burning long after the pow wow of a visual arts degree has called it a night. For some the first year “out” means long hard months of unlearning with many falling by the wayside, but for others it’s a golden hour in which the penny finally drops.

One such case in point is Dan Lorrimer, an ANU School of Art Sculpture workshop graduate in 2009 who threw himself wholeheartedly into the emerging artist game in 2010. But now, in the opening moments of 2011, Lorrimer has really asserted himself as a deadly serious contender.

[Space Displace], Lorrimer’s debut solo exhibition, finds him pulling out all the stops. Where his earlier works were weighted by the onus of institutional expectation and the requisite conceptual baggage, [Space Displace] finds a body of work as ebullient as it is elegant, renegade yet refined.

For the show Lorrimer has joined forces with emerging curator Vanessa Wright, and between them they present a highly considered and impeccably executed exhibition that leaves no box un ticked. The works are complimented by pristine plinths, edgy signage and an eloquent catalogue text, but it is the sheer presence of the five steel sculptures that leaves these other aspects barely registering.

Lorrimer’s hard-edged luxe forms bring to mind the finely honed wares of fellow Canberra sculptor Kensuke Todo, demonstrating a grasp of the trade well beyond his years and experience. Like many of his contemporaries, he is informed by symptoms of the digital age. But bypassing the overt references or of-the-moment clichés Lorrimer instead marries the solid, unchanging characteristics of his material (oxidized steel) to a digital ether and the intangibility of the modern condition. It makes for a reactive yet surprisingly harmonious union, and the resulting sculptures are uniformly, gracefully explosive. A terrifyingly strong debut that heralds a formidable twelve months to come.


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