Statement: An Embarrassing Abundance; ORT Project
Ort Project is the collaborative union of artists Oona Nelson and Anna Noelle Rockwell, whose lush installations, photographs and interactive gestures explore and critique aspects of consumption, abundance, and decay. Their point of reference is the table, a site of dining and display, which they use as a staging platform for painterly nature morte tableaux in which the artists create ephemeral installations and photographs of edible and inedible subjects. Their work takes on the implications of food beyond that of nourishment, instead ORT marinates the more insidious, but visually rich implications—poisonous, gluttonous or hedonistic—to offer intoxicating critiques of social attitudes with collective perils. Within their work Ort blends the influence of art history, the contemporary cult of convenience and abundance, along with the corresponding environmental threats and distorted value systems, into uncommon balances of the grotesque and the beautiful.
ORT Project is the collaborative union of artists Oona Nelson and Anna Noelle Rockwell.
We chose to collaborate because of a long friendship, an ongoing artistic dialogue, and an admiration of each other’s aesthetic. Our collaboration is a cacophony of impediments that bring us to divergent outcomes. We want to beautifully make dark and ugly things that exquisitely complicated people love. Let us tempt you to enter into the dark with us.
Oona Nelson, BFA, San Francisco Art Institute, MFA School of The Art Institute of Chicago. oonanelson.com
The photographic medium is clearly beautiful. I am enamored with it. I wish I could say I am an inspired artist. I am not. My brain is filled with lead. I am moored to the couch, which causes me guilt and anxiety at being so stupidly common. This state of crippled restlessness lasts for long periods. Then, in a fitful explosion of vanity disguised as inspiration, I frantically turn to conjuring up some sort of cleaver artistic endeavor to prop up my feeling of superiority. But alas, my best ideas are usually not my own, and I am left struggling to figure out which toothpaste commercial inspired this one. For a short time I am relived at having completed something and become smitten with the work as if it were a new kitten. And thanks to the endurance of post modernism I can once again call myself an artist.
Anna Noelle Rockwell
Anna Noelle Rockwell, BA, Anthropology and Fine Arts, Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont. Attended San Francisco Art Institute and Parsons School of Design, New York. annarockwell.com
Intense, unsettling, and boldly composed, Anna Noelle Rockwell's paintings radiate a sense of ominous implication and Gothic discontent. Drawing from influences as diverse as horror movies, haute couture, and the rural nostalgia of traditional equine painting, she has crafted images that roil with conflict and unspoken threat. Her horses explode with expressive power, while her human subjects hover eerie and still. Nonetheless, both sets of images express Rockwell's concern with the balance between restless, even chaotic energy and the dominating constraints of form. This thematic dynamic, perfectly captured in the tense symbiosis of horse and rider, also informs her most consistent stylistic trait: the disciplined pairing of forcefully defined, almost allegorical figures with abstract, dissolving backgrounds that undermine any sense of solidity or coherent reference.