Campus News

Artist becomes ‘human spirograph’

Tony Orrico in a performance of “Prone to Stand” at Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, Calif., on May 24, 2012.

By SANDRA Q. FIRMIN

Published September 27, 2012

Members of the UB community and the general public are invited to come watch visual artist and performer Tony Orrico become a “human spirograph” as part of his “Prone to Stand” performances on Oct. 3 in the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

The free performances will take place from 4-7 p.m. in the Lightwell Gallery. They are being presented in conjunction with “Falling through Space Drawn by the Line,” an exhibition on view in the UB Art Gallery through Dec. 8. Orrico is one of numerous artists whose work is featured in “Falling through Space,” an exhibition that showcases the “subservient” medium of drawing.

“Prone to Stand” is part of the “Penwald Drawings,” a series of bilateral drawings in which Orrico explores the use of his body as a tool of measurement to inscribe geometries through movement and duration.

Reminiscent of Leonardo DaVinci’s classically proportioned Vitruvian Man, Orrico becomes a human spirograph machine in which his outstretched arms stem from the body’s central axis in an attempt at dual dominance between his limbs and spontaneous symmetrical motion. The performances involve the buildup of dense lines over time, coupled with the sounds of physical exertion and felt-tipped pens marking the paper in long, continuous strokes until they are depleted.

Audiences are invited into this intensely physical and psychologically charged arena in which the themes of repetition, choreographed locomotion—and eventual exhaustion—are played out.

Orrico’s “Penwald Drawings” have been presented and exhibited internationally, attracting attention from prominent collectors and institutions. As a former member of Trisha Brown Dance Company and Shen Wei Dance Arts, Orrico has graced such stages as the Sydney Opera House, Teatro LaFenice, New York State Theater and Théâtre du Palais-Royal.

He also was one of a select group of artists to re-perform the work of Marina Abramovic during her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.