Fresh from her stay at the British School at Rome, Gill Ord brings paintings made on site and in the studio recording the subterranean spaces of the 'Eternal City'. Landscape is always a subject for Ord, but the challenge in a city of such bewildering shifts, misaligned strata of time and history, was not the straightforward recording of a landscape or architecture, the analysis of the visible; much more a question of archaeology, carrying up into the light, digging beneath the surface to unearth the forgotten, the unseen.
It was in the depths of crypts and in excavations beneath the city that Ord was able to map the fractured origins of the clamorous city above. Foundations built on foundations, roots and columns breaking through polite layers of geological or cultural time. History made present, time abutting time with space reconfigured, with the metropolis understood via its own necropolis.
In a landscape where there is no space not saturated with history, history known and more importantly as yet unknown, these paintings offer a palimpsest of forms and structures giving us a subterranean space of the imagination. An enclosed space for an open mind.
The small paintings in the show were made in situ, the crypt of San Nicola in Carcere, the Mithraeum of Ostia Antica. Back in the studio these are foundations upon which the large paintings were built, at the point where what is contemplated becomes what is reflected upon, filtered by the processing intelligence. A tunnelling through the raw material not towards the light but to a clearer articulation of the darkness that honeycombs the city, the large paintings are themselves 'spolia' from ancient remains.
Gill Ord is an artist working in London, UK. She is also a founding member of Braziers International Artist’s Workshop and Supernormal Experimental Arts and Music Festival, and an advisor for Batroun Projects Lebanon. She has spoken Internationally on artist led projects, collaboration and artist exchange programmes.
From October to December 2014 Ord was in receipt of an Abbey Fellowship in Painting at the British School at Rome.