Tayler Patrick Nicholas

Organic visual systems breaking down into separate gestures in continuous adjectival overflow. Silky, soft, petal-dense, flower-scented, chocking parallel constructions, animate brushstrokes. The metamorphoses of oil paint, the unavoidable creation of illusions, the abandonment of clear cognitive frameworks and definitions. Purple prose is a term – utilised in literary criticism – that alludes to the rhetoric style of overusing poetical forms. The text brings attention to its own velvety-purple quality due to the rhizomatic descriptions and the romantic-baroque linguistic embellishments. This is the place where the purple patches soak through, where the narrative of the everyday – a shared fiction – collapses into a lyricism that dismantles half-hearted conceptual interpretations. The painterly perspective of the term, utilised as a work method in the exhibition Purple Prose (2019) by Orsolya Lia Vetőprovides a possible reading to the artist’s one-man-show, currently on view at Hegyvidék Gallery, Budapest.

Orsolya Lia Vető, PURPLE PROSE, 2019, exhibition view, Hegyvidék Gallery, Budapest
Photo: Krisztián Zana

Zooming in on flowers and fruit in the series Plantscape, Orsolya Lia Vető is not squeamish concerning the alluring, the decorative in her painting practice. The communicative urge that drives the aesthetics of kitsch is condensed into individual signs, that cease to denote separate morphological units and instead hook-up in a hybrid inflorescence, merging in a despecific corporality.[1] This proximity, however, leads to the rearrangement of the free-roaming signs: assuming a new figurative context, they transform into petals or melt into creepy-crawlies that corrupt the disintegrated bouquets. An animistic attitude activates the canvasses of the series Heliopurpur: the painting becomes a surface attacked by bacteria, growing unchartable protrusions and transforming continuously. We are confronted with various naturalistic associations: slices of agate, oil spills, pulled candy, glacier movements, tectonic shifts and burrowing techno-coloured earthworms. Utterances that grow into different sentences second by second: meaning on the move. It is the phenomenological reboot of painting, where the flickering presence of the organic – innate to the materiality of oil paint – informs the illusionism of the wriggling surface.

Orsolya Lia Vető: Plantscape (91JS), 2018, oil on canvas, 20×20 cm
Photo: Krisztián Zana

In a series of site-specifically installed plexiglass pieces – titled Noodle – Orsolya Lia Vető folds rainbow-coloured digitally painted doodles into right angles, adjusting these weird ornaments to their diverse architectural surroundings. The pieces look like worms that have been washed out from the depths of the oil paintings nearby, now drifting around on the surface of the walls. The simple gesture of drawing is hidden within the slithering, rainbow-like eye-candy and the viewer is led to reconstruct the line that was initially drawn on the touchpad. In the painting Heliopurpur (10PDM), a similar printed noodle is fixed onto the surface of the canvas with a transfer technique, letting the digitally manipulated gesture mix with the visuality of traditional oil technique in an experimental combination. Here the digital trace becomes a marginalised presence, that squirms along the edges of this microbiological vision, where the oil spills take on a cellular form, pulsating between sign, material and corporal existence.

Orsolya Lia Vető, NOODLE (10PDD), 2019, digital painting, vinyl on plexiglass, different sizes (detail)
Photo: Krisztián Zana

Orsolya Lia Vető is an emerging artist, who studied painting at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts between 2009 and 2014. She is currently participating in a DLA-course at the University of Pécs as a doctoral student. She lives and works in Budapest and Pécs, Hungary.



[1] Birkhofer, Denise: Eva Hesse and Mira Schendler: Voiding the Body – Embodying the Void, Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 31, No.   2 (FALL / WINTER 2010), pp. 3-11


Orsolya Lia Vető: Purple Prose (2019)

Hegyvidék Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

May 23 – June 13, 2019

Photography: © Krisztián Zana