A few questions with Bo Orr and Dorothy Stucki


A project two years in the making, Atlanta artists and real-life couple Dorothy Stucki and Bo Orr joined forces on a series of drawings for their new exhibition, ''Suspended Absolutes, at Beep Beep Gallery. The show highlights the dichotomy of their drawing themes as they took turns drawing the pieces and weave their styles together. Stucki's nature and science themes can be seen through her work with Plastic Aztecs and her past shows at Borderline Gallery, MINT Gallery, and work with Living Walls. Often on tour with his band Dead in the Dirt, this is Orr's first art show in Atlanta where some of his solo pieces will also be displayed.
Here, Orr and Stucki talk to CL about being frozen in time, working together in their show and megalithic structures.

Tell me about collaborating and drawing together. How did you guys put your ideas together?
Dorothy Stucki: We share a studio space at our house in Grant Park, so it is easy to pass ideas back and forth, and discuss what we are working on. Our drawing together began as a fun exercise, until we completed the piece Pass Into Bloom, which sparked the idea for a series. We were both looking at a book of prints by Albrecht Durer, as well as several books on hermetic illustrations.

Bo Orr: The ideas came about very naturally. One of us might mention finding a way to illustrate certain experiences. A simple sketch would be put down and then we would dive in. We discussed at length certain images and imagery we meant to convey for people. Trying to emulate and pay respect towards powerful symbolism that has influenced us. From Durer's illuminations of Bible text, to common day illustrations that may suggest more than the picture itself.

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Did you take turns drawing the pieces?

DS: Bo was on tour for several months last year, so I started many of the pieces while he was away. I would try to leave plenty of space for him to work without being too confined by my initial markings. For the last piece we finished, Eternal Return, which is also the largest at 3' x 6', we were both able to sit at our studio table and work on it simultaneously. Most of the other drawings weren't large enough to do this, so we took turns. One of us would be drawing at the table, and the other would be working with the paper pinned up on the wall. Music or a documentary is usually playing in the background to keep us motivated. Some artists on heavy rotation were Daniel Higgs and Sun Ra. About halfway through the series we got really into learning about megalithic structures. One day we hope to build our own.

Tell me about the concept behind Suspended Absolutes, your current show at Beep Beep.

DS: Suspended Absolutes is a general term to describe a moment frozen in time. I tend to think of events in time falling like dominoes, where everything that has ever happened has been triggered by something that happened before it. Our drawings are imaginations of specific moments that involve the dark side of human nature, and reference all the actions around that moment, be it the death of an individual, the extinction of a species, or the collapse of a civilization.

BO: Suspended Absolutes is our collective term for plucking permanent moments from this timeline of existence and bringing them to light in a visual way. Our purpose is to create art as devotion, thanking whatever hand was on the other side pushing us toward life.

How did your relationship influence the dichotomy in your pieces?
DS: Our drawing styles are very different, yet fit together perfectly in this context. Bo draws with black pen, while I use colored pencil. His style often depicts decay and human brutality, while I illustrate flourishing nature. When the styles are combined, it becomes a reminder of the impermanence of life, and the overcoming power of nature.

BO: We share the same path. Our pairing was inevitable. Before any piece began we had imagined our styles would meet in harmony.

How did you prepare for the show and chose your favorite pieces from the last two years?
DS: Just about everything we've completed in the past year will be in the show. We are also displaying some of our individual works, so that it will be easier to distinguish our separate styles in the collaborative pieces.

BO: I was on tour for a good portion of 2013 but I still made an effort to be devoted to this in my downtime. This, being the first show i've been involved in, is very important to me. We've included everything we've done both separately and together from the last year. I'm fortunate in that outside of my day job there are people interested enough that I get to illustrate things for them. Aiming towards this show with Dorothy was very rewarding for me. Working with her has allowed the opportunity to bring my ideas to a larger scale and have them realized in a colorful way.

Suspended Absolutes, a collaboration show between Bo Orr and Dorothy Stucki, runs through May 3 at Beep Beep Gallery. More details at the gallery.''

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