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ARTIST INTERVIEW

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Brian Blanchflower

Particle paradise (nuclear family) 1989

on display

Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of anonymous donors, 1993

oil, sand, collage, lint and pigmented gesso on linen

198 × 120.5cm
198.5 × 137.5cm
198 × 120.3cm
198 × 158.5cm
198.5 × 121cm

About the Artwork

For Brian Blanchflower, painting is an ongoing enterprise – a statement about where one is, in an internal sense – a merging of inner experience with reactions to outer phenomena. Like a journey, painting is discovery and, as the artist believes, it is about opening oneself to the unknown. The notion of infinite ‘magical transformations of worlds within worlds’ continues to fascinate the artist whose work is an encapsulation of human experience, time and memory.

Across the various phases of his practice, the landscape has been always present. As a young artist in England in the 1960s, Blanchflower was impressed by ancient sites and megaliths – a clue perhaps to the artist’s consistent concern with our place in the cosmos. Above all, it is the materiality of painting that is key: the undifferentiated spaces of earth and sky and accumulated layers of paint are made to appear as if part of the same natural process. Blanchflower seems less interested in creating an illusion of space: rather he grounds it in material that acts as the earth itself, a place of growth and blossoming. The Australian desert has been a great influence: not just the colours and textures of the earth and shimmering night sky, but the parched vastness and sense of infinity associated with nocturnal visions.

Particle Paradise (nuclear family) expresses a sense of latent energy in the universe, and is an attempt to trace the flux of being.

Artist Statement

The language of painting … or at least, my command of it, seemed inadequate to deal with the predicament created by the increasingly strong feeling of awe I had when confronted with that sky, or the gnarled skin of the earth, or the power of the sea.

I began to use any material to hand which seemed relevant – hence the local rocks and sand, bitumen and hessian, the harpoon grenades and the honey.

References

Artist statement, Brian Blanchflower: Works 1969–1989, University of Western Australia, 1989

'At the End of the World/ At the Edge of the Universe’, Brian Blanchflower Works 1969-1989, exhibition catalogue, David Bromfield (ed), University of Western Australia, Perth, 1989;

Antony Bond, 'Eclecticism: through the distorting lens of distance’, Points of View: University of Technology Sydney Art Collection, Ewen McDonald (ed), UTS Gallery, Sydney, 2002

I began to use any material to hand which seemed relevant – hence the local rocks and sand, bitumen and hessian, the harpoon grenades and the honey.

Brian Blanchflower

Brian Blanchflower

– About the artist

b.1939

Space, matter and colour are three words that encapsulate Brian Blanchflower’s predominantly abstract painting practice.

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