23 November 2017 – 21 January 2018
William Orbit (b. William Wainwright, 1956) has been drawing for most of his life, commencing whilst he attended primary school in East London in the 1960s. Raised in Shoreditch the son of two school teachers, Orbit was able to draw upon his passion for both literature and mythology for inspiration. He would immerse himself in creating buildings, oil refineries and clockwork animals; each with its own stories, adventures and purpose.Throughout his notable musical career (for which he is best known) as a musician, composer, songwriter and record producer he has continued to create illustrations to correlate with his otherwise sonic world. Visual art serves Orbit both as a private passion and a release from ‘the demons that pop up behind the notes’.
Following what Orbit calls an impromptu ‘vision quest’ in the south of the Mohave Desert, USA in 2015 the artist had an epiphany. Alone in the desert with the low floating stars, moonlit creatures, glittering minerals and his deprivation, Orbit’s vision was allowed to bloom. Upon his return to the small surfing community in California where he was living he began to experiment with oils and pigments on canvas – visually recreating and further defining the shapes, colours and currents of his musical world.
Elements of surrealism, illustration and collage are all present in these multifaceted dreamscapes. The pieces in this exhibition juxtapose each other, featuring the natural world and the digital; fossils, machinery, landscapes, metal, and the figure reside alongside each other – there is a dialogue between them but all seem to exist in separate worlds. The artist has remixed the analogue impulsiveness of freehand pen and ink and brushwork into the digital domain, directly alongside the sound processing and waveform manipulation of his music editing software, to create fully formed scenes.
The narrative story of the image has always been a constant thread connecting Orbit’s works. Each picture tells a specific tale and the new, unreleased music that accompanies the visual exhibition provide an audible soundtrack for each of the works.