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Born 1958


There is little to prepare oneself for what is required to fully absorb the impact of Mary-Ann Orr’s unique and impressive work. This emerging South African artist works in three mediums, each a vehicle of expression by which she chooses to ‘Make a Difference’. Be it the powerful sensuality and humour of her large cement based mosaic sculptures, the vibrancy of her joyous canvases or the complex duality of her Thread-Art, all mediums require the viewer to submerge themselves into the journey that the artist herself has taken.
Mary-Ann’s ability to transform seemingly ‘nothingness’ into ‘something-ness’ is art itself, the PROCESS IS THE ART’ and is recorded, documented and presented in the form of Performing art pieces and installations such as ‘TEN GREEN BOTTLES’. In the process she inspires the viewer to engage in co-creative transformation. The free-standing artworks are assembled using 100% recycled and found objects and textiles.

The Thread-Art works utilize unwanted household textiles, industrial waste and virtually anything that can be stitched down. The textiles are deconstructed into confetti-sized pieces, providing her with a pallet of millions of multi-coloured pieces that are then re-constructed into canvases.

The sculptures are collaborative pieces where Mary-Ann encourages local children to rummage and collect pieces of china and broken glass and thrown away items. She can spend hours with the people on the subbish dumps, chatting, collecting, and drawing inspiration for the piece that WANTS TO BE.

Mary-ann’s inspiration is drawn from the San people who apparently covered a cave wall during moments of trance-formational abandon, using very hands-on techniques of finger painting, rubbing and over painting often allowing images to appear from cracks and crevices. Mary-Ann uses a similar process in both her sculptures and Thread-Art. In her hands everything undergoes metamorphosis, saucers transform into ears, cups into eyes, trinket boxes into nostrils and vases into horns. The same artistic alchemy is evident in her Thread-Art, where in order to maximise creative freedom from an otherwise ‘rigid and mechanical’ process, she drops the controls of the sewing machine into free-motion and then abandons herself to the process of transformation.


Dream now, dream not, the annual Winter Solstice Exhibition, The Cape Gallery

The Rain Maker, annual Winter Solstice exhibition at The Cape Gallery

Continuum, annual Winter Solstice exhibition at The Cape Gallery

MARY-ANN ORR view image larger
Title: The Thread For Me is Broken 1/50
Size: 95 x 75 cm
Media: Limited edition print
Price: R 8 500 framed
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