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 biography - e

biography - e. gary blundell

“Our space is best defined by sound and sight, our smells or smut, our dirt, help us to know that we are not abstractions.” Brian Lewis, ' The Search for the Plastic Grail’

“I care not to paint pretend pictures of long views which blur the particular and insult the living…those landscapes that trash the truths as they reach ever upwards into the sky, as though we only know somewhere or somebody from a distance…that’s the lie of the land while the truth is never far away but up close in the dirt…” Richard Flanagan, ‘Gould’s Book of Fish’

"The landscape was certainly a fine one, immense and dusty in heat of morning.  Human or even animal hardly belonged, though there were clues to both, in the stubble recurring patterns, geometric to the point where they suggested rites…" Patrick White, 'Sicilian Vespers'  

"Look at it (an old working coal mine or slum) from a purely aesthetic standpoint and it may have a certain macabre appeal.  I find that anything outrageously strange generally ends by fascinating me even when I abominate it." George Orwell, 'The Road to Wigan Pier'

Gary BlundellMy work is a life long struggle to connect to the world through painting. Painting is a force, a way toward the infinite. I see a through-line from the edges of the universe, to the surface of the Earth, to the cells that we are made of. Natural structures are built and demolished causing endless patterning. Humans build and destroy creating the pattern of civilization. My paintings begin with and are about my relationship with these patterns.

As a trained geologist, I often begin with rocks. They contain astounding patterning, chaotic and ordered, and extremely varied in colour. Already abstracted, they are full of dynamic energy. They tell great tales of the history of the Earth, of millions of years of deposition, movement, collision and deconstruction. Slow and mythic in proportion, the history of the Earth’s rocks establishes an archetypal framework for my work.

In practical terms, I use rocks as a starting point to explore my interest in patterning. I create a web of shapes evoking hydroelectric lines, lots and concessions, roads, city grids, quarries and mines, river systems, aerial photos, tectonic plates, satellites and human tissue. My paintings then reflect landscape as often transformed through development and always imbued with human memory.

I use a router to carve into a surface, to mimic how land is transformed over time and through technology. The router makes the patterns definitive and seemingly permanent. My work is deliberately bold, rugged and lacks sentiment. My earlier incarnation as a scientist allows my investigations to be provocative and creates a comfort level for accidents. Through experimentation, I have learned that all outcomes are valuable. Accidents offer different directions for the patterns making works that are farther and farther removed from their starting point. The process is an unfolding story, a state of breakdown and reformation, a search for the appropriate ending.

My painting is an evolution, a slow process from an idea to art, a struggle between the cerebral and the sensual. It reflects more heart and soul than brain. And it is the colour in my work that represents the violence and metamorphosis in patterns. Colour keeps the work in balance; it represents heat and change. Colour is like the rocks themselves, alive and moving all the time.

Necessarily fraught, my work is both calculating and romantic. I am prone to paint and live in this dichotomy.

E. G. Blundell was born in London, England and immigrated to Canada in 1962. Gary is a hyrdogeoloist by training and has a degree in Earth Sciences. In 2014 he received the Chalmers Fellowship. His work has been exhibited across the country, the UK and can be found in numerous public and private collections throughout Canada.

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