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L.A. Prime Matter

Eric orr

Figueroa at Wilshire
601 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017


Eric Orr

L.A. Prime Matter, 1991

Bronze, fire, granite, and water

37′ h x 5′ w x 1’10” d

Located in the northwest plaza of Figueroa at Wilshire, Eric Orr’s L.A. Prime Matter consists of two 32′ h rectangular bronze towers atop a black granite clad plinth with water cascading down their ribbed sides. A gas flame shoots up the sides of both columns and burns for approximately three minutes once per hour, at the top of the hour. After visiting cultic sites in Egypt and Zaire, Orr was inspired to create his Prime Matter series. He wanted to juxtapose light, fire, water and the natural elements of the earth, combining them into a single sculpture that serves as a focal point for the property and for the downtown LA landscape.

Born in Covington, Kentucky, Eric Orr (1939-1998) studied at a number of universities including the University of California, Berkeley; University of Mexico, New School for Social Research; Ecole de Paraphysiques, Paris; and the University of Cincinnati. Using lead, gold, and oil paint on canvas, Orr’s art engages the themes of chemistry and light. At times, the artist would incorporate non-traditional materials such as blood, broken and crushed bone, volcanic ash, hair, and pulverized transistor radio parts into his sculptural works.

Works by Orr are in international collections including: the State of California; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Newport Harbor Art Museum; City of Denver Performing Arts Center; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Den Haag Gemeentemuseum, the Netherlands; the Panza Collection, Milan, Italy; and the Museum Sztuki W. Lodzi, Lodz, Poland.