David Blatherwick: Drifting

Text by Michael Rattray

The new work of David Blatherwick echoes the pathology of a virus and the abject fascination it engenders through the visualization of its structure. The role of the microscopic at once distances the reality of the self from the body while concurrently effectuating the very cellular processes in view, acting as a feral reminder of a site of limitless expansion, threat and creation. The task of the painter in a world defined by technology is to re-codify the medium: to be a reflective foil to a world surrounding itself. These new works situate the limits of painting, but they are limits that are singularly defined by a function of proximity and perception.

Within each of the new works, what becomes apparent is that the viewer is presented with a cordoned view of a complex initiative. The multi-layering of paint creates a sense of depth within the tableaux, but the depth appears as a flattened surface, as if the world created by the artist is attainable only through a formal analysis of composition. Yet, the compressed aesthetic of the works is confounded through looping: patterns appear to tangle and disentangle themselves at random, consequentially, the painter succeeds in mirroring the chaos of the molecular. Calculated and controlled, each image appears to stretch over itself, giving way to an order that derives its complexity by insinuating a visual world untouched. The real gives way to the unreal through a masking of painterly affordances that engender a sense that the viewer is privy to a site where milieus of structures act simultaneously.

While the works can be argued as non-representational, they are bound by what the artist calls a point of departure. This point of departure can be seen as the ability with which the imagination worms itself within itself, tangling up and knotting, to come to new configurations and adaptations that could have been missed were it not for the opportunity of stasis. Compositionally, these works function under the rubric of abstraction, yet they imply that the way in which the abstract functions allows for the structure -the very cellular make-up of an organism- to come into view so as to generate something new, something unforeseen. In this way, the works generate new intricacies at which to code and re-code the foundations of the unknown.