Orr rows into Rugby to curate new Collection exhibition

PAINTER and printmaker Chris Orr curates this year's Rugby Collection exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.
Chris Orr's All England All Sport Final features in his Domestic Fantastic exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. (Credit The all England, all Sport Final, ©️Chris Orr)
08 February 2024

The acclaimed artist, a former professor of printmaking at London's Royal College of Art, has selected over 40 pieces from the borough's collection of contemporary art to feature in the exhibition, which opens on Saturday (10 February).

Orr also brings a collection of his own distinctive work - Domestic Fantastic: Prints and Paintings - to Rugby Art Gallery and Museum to run in tandem with the Collection exhibition.

Domestic Fantastic features Orr's trademark, densely-detailed prints, each one a humorous, satirical and often seething social commentary on our everyday lives.

Orr has exhibited all over the world and his work features in a number of public art collections, including the Arts Council of England, Tate Britain, the Victorian and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Orr said he was "honoured" to be invited to curate this year's Rugby Collection exhibition and explained the thinking behind his selections.

"I approached the job of selecting a show using the magpie part of my brain," Orr said. "First, I chose many works by old friends encountered in a career of teaching at art schools and through the Royal Academy. This was a bit like organising a fantasy dinner party with your favourite guests.

"Then there are those works that surprise and intrigue me," Orr added. "I love finding art that has perhaps languished in the vaults unseen for a while."

Orr's selection includes works by "old friends" Carel Weight, John Bellany, Terry Setch and Leon Kossoff, together with what he describes as "truly breath-taking works" by Barbara Hepworth, Paula Rego and John Hoyland.

The Rugby Collection was established by the council in 1946 and includes works by LS Lowry, Stanley Spencer and Turner Prize winners Lubaina Himid and Gillian Wearing.

Both the Rugby Collection exhibition and Orr's Domestic Fantastic run at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum until 8 June 2024.

Cllr Adam Daly, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for leisure and wellbeing, said: "It's a real coup to welcome Chris Orr to Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, both to curate this year's Rugby Collection exhibition and showcase his own work.

"With the exhibition of Quentin Blake book covers also opening this weekend, visitors can admire the instantly recognisable work of two of Britain's most distinctive artists."

For more information about exhibitions and events at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, visit www.ragm.co.uk