We were saddened today to hear of the passing of Mark Orr, the artist behind what we’ve known as Scavenger Art. Symmetry Gallery carried Mark’s work since early 2010, and despite our focus on American blown glass, we couldn’t resist the prankish and charming creatures he so carefully depicted.
Mark’s work will remain and serve as a reminder never to ignore a ‘shiny object’, or humor in the ordinary. May you fly high, Mark, as our courier of energy, and wonder, and light.
RAVEN AND CROW Since man’s earliest history the Raven and Crow have held a high and honored position in our mythology and spirituality.
The Norse God Odin had two ravens, “Thought” and “Memory”, which he would send to fly around the world each day so they could report back to him events as they unfolded.
Native American tradition holds the Raven~Crow as the courier of energy flow that brings about change and creates new realities. The raven, being black, is associated for them with the “void” from which all energy flows.
Northwest coastal tribes believed Raven was the creator of the Heavens, the Earth and the Sea. It was he who brought forth the light and lifted us out of the darkness. He was very wise but he was also known to be a “trickster”.
Although I have been an artist all my life, the body of work that has become “Scavenger Art” is really quite a recent creation. Salvaged architectural elements, especially vintage shutters and stair balusters, as well as other found objects are used to create a wide range of sculpture and art furniture. Expanding on the architectural theme, I often add roof tops and ornamental gables to my pieces to instill a feeling of “home”.
Sculptural carved wooden ravens represent the “scavenger” or “gatherer” in my work, with each piece containing unique and interesting found objects from the past. In our spiritual history the raven has also long been viewed as a messenger between realities and the courier of change. The vintage keys are used to represent the opening of doors and the welcoming of positive change. By combining these elements and themes, each “new” creation is imbued with a rich and personal history.
“I want my pieces to reflect that they have a timeless and very interesting story of their own to tell.”
The artistic process begins in unique places. Much of the fun is in visiting antique shops, salvage yards and flea markets in search of inspirational artifacts. These are things that have survived the ravages and purges of time because they “spoke” of something special to someone. That personal meaning and the spirit which is preserved lends itself to and hopefully finds new meaning in my art. To blend the old with the new materials I use many techniques including paint layering, distressing, crackle finishes and patinas.
Another key aspect of my work is a sense of humor. By using found objects in unexpected ways my art produces lots of smiles and amused chuckles. Bowling pins, croquet balls and stair balusters become legs, antique shutters become the sides of cabinets and the tops to tables.
“Sometimes when I finish a piece and take that first look....if it makes me laugh out loud, then I know I’ve got something!”