Robert Currie’s work examines structures and energies that exist around us; those that are visible but go unnoticed and those that are invisible, considered inconsequential, despite affecting our everyday living.
His work focuses around the opposing theories of chaos theory, the notion that order comes out of disorder, and complexity theory where it is seen as inevitable in any sufficiently complex system, that order will emerge. An example of chaos theory is the turbulent flow in certain liquids that creates vortices, ripples and eddies; the point where 2 bodies of water merge – one moving so fast it lacks coherence, the other moving so slowly it is entirely coherent. It is at this point that order emerges and creates effects such as vortices. However, that resultant effect will always be dependent on combinations of variables that are unique to that time and space, and it is this intersection that interests Currie. His appreciation of how combinations of variables, the ‘forces of nature’, manifest themselves comes from years spent on the Isle of Man. Now living and working in London, his sensibility and awareness of these forces is applied to an urban environment. He consistently develops contrasts within his work; rational and irrational, negative and positive, order and disorder, filled and unfilled.
His recent work, a series of drawings, follow a systematic process in an attempt to accentuate the human touch. The act of drawing individual lines, building up an image by layering and intersecting, gradually loses mathematical and logical precision as each line is subject to minute variations. These variations have an aesthetic quality where each line becomes more descriptive and harmonic. When the lines are grouped together the systematic relationship is replaced by a more active one of both tension and relaxation. Robert Currie presents an intrinsically ethical practice when he makes his large videotape installations. For this particular piece,commissioned by VINEspace, exploratory pencil sketches led to a simple idea – to work on the two parallel walls of the gallery. The initial process was clear, equitable, and in contrast with the ultimate complexity with which we are finally confronted. The two sides of the gallery extend inwards towards the centre of the room. Architecturally, it is unlike Currie’s previous installations; more Gaudi than Gropius, less pre-determined and more willful. The videotape, with its slender lines and reflective surface accumulates, crystal-like along the length of the room. The building up of lines through hatching to create planes and define shape is a familiar method for articulating form with pencil on paper. On the platform of installation, and of course, in three dimensions, this work does concern itself with the articulation of form but also the validity of nothingness; through woven uniformity, voids materialize to give a hint and perception of nothing as a result of ‘something’.
Robert Currie, 2007