Records from the workshop
In the ambient work Laboratory, I have arranged the drawings (specific diagrams of the experiments) in spatial correlation with empty jars that originally contained food (pickles...), which I had filled with light in the Laboratory, as a sample result of the experimental research. The Laboratory is the actual space of my living and creation, for it is both my apartment and studio. By transferring it into the gallery context, Laboratory becomes an ambient in which the elements from everyday life – jars once filled with food – become exhibits of a creative artistic act. Physical food (pickles) transmutes into its origin – light. The transmuting process itself I have documented with drawings-diagrams.


1. The exposure

Everyone of us has, at least once in a lifetime, wished to stroll through the city streets with an empty backpack on. To feel its meaning as it bounces merrily. Lightness is what one wishes to carry on the back! To sit on the grass, take the backpack off and spread it widely. To plunge the hand into its emptiness, take out an empty jar and, then, let the light in – thoroughly...

2. The plot

The Laboratory is a workspace equipped for scientific and research experiments and testing. The space packed with everfull jars and test tubes that may contain anything, depending on the laboratory. Actually, the laboratory signifies every workspace (the word originates from the Latin words laboratorium – a workshop, and laborare – to work). Respectively, each work deserves an exact laboratory approach. Only the approach of total devotion will bear healthy fruits and that definitely does not come easy. It is a hard way of solitude of an enclosed space, a way full of risks for it is hardly possible to anticipate the directions in which the laboratory might turn. The significance of it is actually the everlasting metamorphosis - an unending experiment and inexhaustible trying. Still, even that, and only if genuine, carries certain principles within the rules.

3. The Climax

Gloria Oreb's Laboratory shares that significance. To start more precisely from the beginning: There are twelve images made on bonded wooden plates along with empty objects – the jars sealed with golden lids. The images are divided into two sets of six plates. The six larger were made by using charcoal and black acrylic on the white background, while the six smaller, exactly half the size of the latter, were also created using ephemeral, organic material – chalk, that was, however, fixed with fixative on the black acrylic background. Therefore, the background matter itself is subject to the particular order, which describes the entire opus of Gloria Oreb. The same certainly happens to the fibreboard drawings. As in any research lab, they are transmuted into each other, to infinity. Again, the artist plays with the ambiguity of different symbols, and the circle is dominant – one can sense its vibrancy and movement in every draft. This time we might call this abstraction ''the living abstraction'', whereas the works from the Time and Space Triptych were entirely purified, fixed in time. The artist uses peculiar pictograms that resemble technical drawings (which is again the expression of order!) to capture the unmaterial and she simultaneously blends it into the material of her very specific, abstract drawings. While observing them, the division between abstraction and figuration seems superfluous because all of the primal symbols she uses are the forms of space. Even the origin itself, a pictogram from which the whole thing has developed, was a kind of fleeting, an elusive technical drawing and (non)figuration – the universe itself. Therefore, one should not classify or compare the work of Gloria Oreb since her drawing is omnipresent – comparable only to an endless, unfixed layout of everything that is eternally changing.

4. The Vicissitude

Nevertheless, although the works of Gloria Oreb are ''read'' consecutively, they still deny the existence of time within those different directions and measures that are so significantly present inside of them. Accordingly, as the artist herself says, ‘’It is impossible to measure the immeasurable’’, and because they were created according to approximately ten-year-old sketches from which the various directions of her opus have already emerged. The theme remains the same: the idea, the thought, and the inner world of Gloria Oreb. Consequently, her lab is actually a work about the working (creating) process, and although her drawings seem technically precise, they are not. However, watching over the exact ratio of two smaller fiberboard plates, which make together the bigger one, one can even find among them the diameter of the emptied pickles-jars' layout, which the artist sets on the tables whose working surfaces reminds of the workshop/studio space. Another linking point between the jars and the fiberboards is the fact that they both were the integral parts of the workshop of this artist's life: She ate from the jars, and she slept on the fiberboards. Then again, the real space, the space of the meditative kitchen and the everyday life, correlates with the space of the inner world records on the drawings. They are actually one, indivisible space. The jars are something tangible coming out of the lab, as well as the fiberboard plates, but within the macrocosm of these drawings, they all seem unreal as if they belong to another time, dimension, world and space. Especially since they are empty (as opposed to the fiberboard plates filled with drawings which themselves are, paradoxically, filled with circular outlines of these same empty jars!). Interestingly enough, they don't provoke curiosity nor they question: ''What was once inside of them?'' at any moment, but only the feeling of liberation and enlightenment through the light, which is the Sun. The colour of gold that has always symbolized it, the colour of spiritualization and harmony, which used to take the angular form in previous artist's cycles, has taken the circular form of the jar lid. Besides, she herself was pasting the golden leaves onto the paintings' backgrounds of the Time and Space Triptych, thus taking performative/meditative approach to the process. This time, though, she bought the jar in a store and consumed its content. Nevertheless, these acts are tightly linked to the life process itself and, finally, to the Sun that represents it.

5. The Conclusion

Earlier in the text, it has been remarked that only the approach of total devotion would bear healthy fruits in a laboratory. Moreover, what is more trusted than the Sun? It is diligent, genuine and precise. Gloria Oreb took the cucumbers, which are the products of the Sun, out of the jars in order to give an empty jar to the light itself. To the intangibility, that tangibility depends on. She laid before us the so-called ''unbearable lightness of being'' - an empty backpack and an empty jar that still needs ''kilometers'' of attention. After all, this is a laboratory. One has to stick around for a long, long time.
Neva Lukić

Galić Gallery, Split