Blaise Drummond's exhibition on view until January 24th at Galerie Loevenbruck is called Rest and Be Thankful. Included in this exhibition are a number of paintings, drawings, small sculpture, and mixed media installation.
The Rest and Be Thankful pass in Scotland is a lonely place with all the attributes of Highland character: a swooping valley of green and greener, a blowing wind cutting through the hills, a once-important military road snaking through the land. There is a stone at the top of the pass commemorating the completion of the military road in 1750, built by General Wade during the subjection of Scotland following the Jacobite rebellion. In the stillness and glory of this pass, one can hear the earth breathe and gather the energy to continue moving forward.
I have no idea whether Blaise Drummond has been to this place, or even knows about it, but I thought it was a nice starting point for discussing this work.
Coming upon this exhibition was like a moment at the summit - quiet and clean and a lot of distance. Spare canvases, a freshness that is immediately compelling, splatters of pigment and a zen-like perfectionism, Drummond's paintings give us the time and stretching room for resting, contemplating utopian visions and nostalgic reverie. I am aware of the modernist moments found not only in his choice of architecture and design, but also in the focus on surface and flatness. No need to look backwards or forwards; in perfection the moment is supreme.
As I move through the gallery I began to find, here and there, just the tiniest of hesitations. I realize that his work really addresses the fallen moment just the other side of perfect. I notice the shaky falseness of his trees, the ruse of the cherry blossoms, the missing legs on the table. I focus in on the bits of detritus pasted about and wonder if these tiny scraps came from the studio floor. Are these clues of some kind or merely rewards for looking closely? Off in the corner are a couple of drawings of trees - almost shivering in their bareness - and there is a shorn branch with what appears to be an actual bird's nest mounted on a pedestal and preserved under glass. Where are the eggs? An empty nest is such a sad affair. And then there is a mixed-media installation featuring a deer made from a frozen sausage box, with droplets or drools falling from the graph-paper patch of iciness from above. Is this the ever present drip of the global warm that all of us hear in our nightmares?
Despite the minimalist ease of the painting and the gorgeous white spaces, aside from the intimacy of the drawings and the charm of the tiny sculptural pieces, I do come to realize that Drummond's Rest and Be Thankful has anxiety whipping throughout. I center in on Don't let our Youth go to Waste. The form of the building is so familiar; the surrounding tree creates a soft fold around this place. This is a setting which seems so known; surely this is a buidling from the suburbs where I grew up.
I start to consider the windows of the multi-unit dwelling, maybe looking for a sign of humanity to breathe life into this benign perfection. I conjure up the hundreds of inhabitants sitting in those units, behind those opaque windows, living their lives of quiet desperation in their one-bedroom apartments with the beige carpeting and matching beige kitchen appliances, watching TV, eating microwave, or getting ready for a Sunday drive to commemorate the day of rest before the 9-5 stars rolling again. I shudder at the pristine blandness of it all and am thankful I do not live in this sterile coffin. No, I say to myself, this is not the kind of restful existence that I want. And, like some scene from a David Lynch movie, I wonder what awaits in the valley below.
- Georgia Fee
(Images: Blaise Drummond, Rest and Be Thankful, 2008 @ Galerie Loevenbruck; Blaise Drummond, Silverlake (No. 2), 2008, Oil and collage on canvas, 162x123 cm, Photo: Fabrice Gousset; Blaise Drummond, Everything is Green and all the Plants are growing, 2008, Wall installation with various materials, Photo: Fabrice Gousset; Blaise Drummond, Don't let our Youth go to Waste, 2008, Oil and collage on canvas, 162x213 cm, Photo: Fabrice Gousset. All Images courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris.)