Blaise Drummond

EXHIBITION 2013

Blaise Drummond was born in Liverpool in 1967. But he has lived and worked in Ireland for many years. His influences include 1960s American land art, punk rock, the characteristic architecture of Le Corbusier and Alvar Alto, the notes made by writer Henry D. Thoreau during his stay at Walden, and the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. These sources of inspiration may at first glance seem widely disparate, but all are concerned with contradictions between nature and culture, i.e. the civilized versus the uncontrollable.

I grew up in the suburbs, between the city and the country, amongst houses and trees, birdsong, gardens and streets. The paintings attest to the desire for some state of grace and stasis in the world. So when excerpts from field guides and taxonomic books appear in my works I suppose that they are at once recalling a private and a universal lost eden. Beyond that the interplay between natural and architectural forms that occurs frequently in my work is obviously an exploration of the idea of that binary sort of attitude that underpins much of European thought, as well as taking pleasure in the formal, pictorial manifestation of that same duality. I think fundamentally all the works are probably an attempt to grasp at some half remembered vision of balance in world. 

Blaise Drummond, 2014 

The works of Blaise Drummond are experimental set-ups in the field of fine arts. Over the immaculate white of the canvas, his repertoire of set pieces are (re)distributed to create constantly changing arrangements. These are fragments of the utopias of the 19th and 20th century, of Romantic yearnings for nature and enlightened Modernity; these polarities confront each other and thus create new connections. His works always oscillate between the failure of this Romantic idea and the discovery of a new beginning. Influenced by Post-Minimalist concepts, Drummond cites the reduced, abstract language of the 1960s and 1970s and transforms this into a semantic system that now belongs to our general culture. Drummond refers to these roots using architecture by Le Corbusier and van der Rohe, for example, seeing them as locations of idealised human existence, which he longingly evokes in his pictures and simultaneously presents as an artificial construct.In his pictures, the architectural icons of Modernity come together with drippings or decalcomania in plant form, profane objects or fragments of nature. Every element appears to float in an unsteady balance on the white of the canvas as if it had found its ideal location, if only for a moment. Then the artist permits the viewer to expose this completely staged harmony as a illusionary world. Drummond’s examination of the past does not produce any nostalgic déjà-vu; instead, it directs our gaze towards the present through the mirror of western history.

He has had solo exhibitions at Museum Haus Lange (Krefeld, Germany), the Castlefield Gallery (Manchester), Stedelijk Museum Aalst (Belgium), Musee de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne and the Crawford Municipal Gallery of Art (Cork). He has also participated in group shows with the Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), the Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool) and many more, and he was selected twice for the John Moores exhibitions in the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool) and in the ‘Utopias’ show at the Douglas Hyde Gallery (Dublin).