Artist: Zander Blom
Medium: Oil and graphite on linen
Dimensions: 168.5 x 238cm
Zander Blom explores different configurations of line, shape, and form in his paintings, drawings, and distinctive photographs of abstract assemblages. Often using the architecture of his work studio as his canvas—in particular defined spaces like corners and walls—Blom creates patterns with cardboard, paint, tape, and other materials. He then photographs the transient constructions before destroying them. Blom mines the imagery of modernist abstraction for his playful compositions, with shapes often repeating rhythmically throughout the picture plane. In his paintings, modular smatterings of paint and precise lines create different formal relationships. “I look at what I do today as a kind of science of the picture plane,” he has said. “I’m perpetually trying to solve new problems, and creating new problems to try and solve.”
In this latest body of work Blom continues to play in the space where the history of art collides with the immediacy of objects. The show is dedicated entirely to paintings in oil on canvas, with Blom expanding his focus to explore how colour operates sculpturally on canvas. Flat planes of pigment are introduced into a palette that was previously dominated by black line and the beige of untreated Belgian linen. As a gesture of challenge to expectations about contemporary painting practice, the artist revels in the simple delight of the easel, reiterating his commitment to the generative loop of artist and studio. Blom writes:
The term ‘easel painting’ is one I’m very fond of. It suggests many things, but above all the possibility of a life that is uncomplicated, unaffected, even peaceful.
It is a place where you do not need to rely on the efforts of a whole team of assistants or a massive production budget for a successful outcome. A place where an individual can work at their own pace on their own terms, relying almost solely on their wit, intellect, ability, instinct and critical sense. Where each work, no matter what shape or size, can be equally important or effective. A place where you can sit down, have a cup of coffee and read a book while trying to figure out how to solve a new problem.
Blom was born in 1982 in Pretoria and lives in Cape Town.
Solo shows include New Works at Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf (2015); Place and Space at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah and also at Atlanta, Georgia, USA (2011-12); The Black Hole Universe at Galerie van der Mieden in Antwerp and also at 5x6x9, Berlin (2010); in addition to Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Group shows include Gestalt & Becoming at Feldbusch Wiesner Rudolph, Berlin (2016), Exchange at Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf (2016); Home Truths: Domestic Interiors in South Africa at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2016); Material Matters: New Art from Africa at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean in Port Louis (2015); Handle with Care!, the ninth Ostrale International Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Ostrale Centre in Dresden (2015); Thinking, Feeling, Head, Heart at The New Church Museum, Cape Town (2015); The Evolution of Art 1830-2140, Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin (2013); The Global Contemporary: Art worlds after 1989, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany (2011); Ampersand, Daimler Contemporary, Berlin (2010); and ZA: Young art from South Africa, Palazzo Delle Papesse, Siena, Italy (2008).
In 2014 Blom won the third Jean-François Prat Prize for contemporary art in Paris. He is included in Phaidon’s latest anthology of contemporary painting, Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting (2016), and his second catalogue raisonné, Paintings Volume II, with an essay by Nicola Trezzi, will be launched at Art Basel Miami Beach this December.
South African, b. 1982