Craig Murray-Orr was born in 1942, in Lower Hutt on the southern edge of New Zealand’s North Island. His fifty-year career as a sculptor of meticulously carved wooden forms, and as a painter of intensely concentrated landscapes, has been shaped by a mix of childhood memories of that vast, rough landscape and by more recent travels in Asia and North Africa.
His works are deliberately austere and sensuous reductions of life filtered through memory and imagination that ultimately reflect the complexities of an emotional or mental state, rather than the specifics of geography. “As a painter,” he says “I spend most of my days dreaming of times spent ice axe or gun in hand, on some high ridge, but the work is of nowhere specific. I spend time in desolate places to feed my soul, not to sketch or take notes. The work is a distillation of all I feel about nature”.
This exhibition of thirty new small-scale oil paintings on board is the culmination of three years’ work, each one pushing the possibilities of a private and personal language. A new book will be published to accompany the exhibition.