Kedela wer kalyakoorl ngalak Wadjak boodjak yaak.

Today and always, we stand on the traditional land of the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Brian Blanchflower. Photo by Duncan Wright.

Brian Blanchflower

State Collection
Gallery 01
Until 30 January

Two pieces from this seminal artist's Canopy series hang together, evocative and demanding of our attention.

Brian Blanchflower has radically expanded what it means to be an artist in Western Australia. Two works from Blanchflower’s prolific Canopy series are presented here: Canopy #74 (Brighton Blue, 2017) and Canopy #76 (diptych, 2018 –2019). Brighton Blue uses layers of close-toned colour to evoke the spirit of the ocean where he grew up as a child and that of his lifelong friend, artist Bob Brighton.

Created in his forest studio it is also a sumptuous record of the changing light and atmospherics of the passing days, of the ways our connections to people and place accumulate to colour the here and now. Canopy #76 was made as Blanchflower was moving into his 80th year. It has a bold flatness distinct from his more highly-worked surfaces that he uses to create a tremulous optical flip between positive and negative space. This positions us, unnervingly, between life and death, Earth and universes beyond.

“Painting is a quest of discovery. That’s why I work, really, to discover something. When I discover it, it’s still a mystery to me, but it’s another step along the infinite road.” — Brian Blanchflower, The View From Here 2021

Since arriving in 1972 Blanchflower has channeled his fascination with English mystical creative traditions (from stone-markings to William Blake and Samuel Palmer), and the immersive paintings of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, to respond to what it is like to be wholly within the Australian landscape. In this spirit, his work is made over many months, sometimes years, and translates looking, memory and reflection into densely suggestive forms that demand attention as durational events.