Craig Murray-Orr was born in 1942, in Lower Hutt on the southern edge of New Zealand’s North Island. He studied at the Ilam School of Art in the 1960’s and since 1975 has lived in North London. Two thirds of his life then has belonged to the edge of Hampstead Heath rather than to ‘the land of the long white cloud’ but it is early memories of a genuinely rough country that have guided his forty year career.
Murray-Orr is known for his meticulously-crafted sculptural works and his intense small-scale watercolours. The common thread with all Murray-Orr’s work is an interest in the landscape. His pared down hunting rifles, each carved from a single piece of mahogany, beautifully capture the essence of their subject with the spare elegance of near abstraction.
Another recently completed sculpture, nine years in the making, explores the movement of seven clumps of grass amidst “a breath of wind”. The work stands as a testament to the power of the simplicity in Murray-Orr’s work.
His watercolours combine velvet blacks, deep purples, rich ochres, greys and greens to form vistas reminiscent of desert or lunar landscapes. These paintings are never geographically specific but instead are a mix of childhood memories and recent travels in Asia and North Africa. These imagined landscapes share the same reductive quality as Murray-Orr’s mahogany sculptures – spare, precise and deeply evocative.
Unit F, Chocolate Factory 1
Wood Green, London
The Chocolate Factories in Wood Green, London N22, are a landmark development and hub of excellence for the creative industries in the UK.
The project started in 1996 when Collage Arts, an arts development agency, moved into the Chocolate Factory on Clarendon Road and converted several derelict floors of the Factory into artist studios.
What followed was a high demand for creative space and in 2002, Collage Arts renovated Chocolate Factory 2 on Coburg Road, next door.