See New Paintings by Zander Blom at Stevenson
The artist will open his solo show ‘New Paintings’ in February
Posted: Jan 14 2019
If you’re a fan of painting, but not too keen on how seriously the medium takes itself, New Paintings is an exhibition you’ll want to see.
The solo show by artist Zander Blom will open to the public this February 2 at Johannesburg’s Stevenson gallery. This group of paintings on canvas – fragments collaged together on stretched canvases or loosely strung on washing lines – continues Blom’s experiments with a new pictorial language. In the artist’s words:
There is a lot of frenzied figuration going on in the studio. For the time being, this is giving me an immense sense of freedom, bordering on abandon. The space is populated with dragon-rat-bird-dog-humanoid mutations, nonsensical lighthearted nightmarish bullshit. It is quite liberating, and I’m trying to embrace and mine this moment for all it is worth, instead of killing it with pre-emptive critical judgment. This is never entirely possible, but you can find ways to trick yourself for short periods of time. As for the modernism shtick, it is still something I haven’t been able to shake off. Perhaps I can claw my way out, one lovingly copied reference at a time.
What do you do when idealisms and ambitions fall away? Nothing. You just sit back and watch the empty spaces fill up with new tenants. Anyway, in this house there has only ever been one constant, one permanent resident: an endless infatuation and frustration with painting and mark-making – a stubborn, impatient desire to will paint into a compelling composition or expression of some sort. And guaranteed, the result is never quite satisfying enough, no matter how cunning your strategies. Because (surprise!) the game is rigged, and it always has been. It comes with a built-in fail-safe that ensures its continued survival. Consider the preposterousness of trying to bring something to life on a flat surface with a couple of pigments and some crude utensils. Painters pray for miracles, and settle for mirrors. But it doesn’t stop them from praying, because this is the religion of Painting, with its ever-dangling, shapeshifting carrot. Maybe the only unmovable ambition I have ever had is the chasing of this elusive vegetable. No matter what direction the work takes, or how much I rebel against whatever I painted yesterday, it seems I can always centre myself around this bit of bad code – a source of inexhaustible energy, in this heaven – or hell – of oil on canvas.