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David Blatherwick: Cheese, Worms and the Holes in Everything

September 15, 2007 - November 25, 2007

AWE Gallery

Imagine a painting that has been infected with a virus that caused it to come alive. Would it attempt to escape its frame and ooze across the wall? Would it make replicas of itself to sell in the gift shop or form new colonies in the next gallery? Would it try to take the other paintings in a battle for ultimate control?

This is something to consider when approaching David Blatherwick’s Cheese, Worms and the Holes in Everything. In his previous work, he examined the massive shift brought on by the digital revolution: the desire for an infinitely connected and accessible network of information. Now he has turned his attention to other invisible forces that connect us biologically and chemically.

Recent international outbreaks of disease demonstrate that, despite our digital sophistication, nature still has the upper hand. And no matter how much protection we have, the natural will find a way to get through. This relationship between digital worlds and nature is evident in the way we use language; computer ‘worms’ and ‘viruses’ for example suggest invasion and permeability.

The challenge for Blatherwick as a painter is to adopt a slightly new vernacular, or slang, from previous codes in order to express these complex and undefined relationships. He does this by inventing a limited vocabulary of painted lines and shapes which could be various parts of microscopic cells or parasites of some sort. He links them into organic structures of chains or sequences that are deliberately cartoon-like in color and form.

Blatherwick, who arrived in Windsor from Montreal a few years ago to teach at the School of Visual Art at the University of Windsor, begins each painting without a predetermined strategy. Instead, he allows associations to occur linkages, clusters, overlapping forms during the process of painting. He has also started to add organic, three-dimensional elements directly to the paintings and to the surrounding walls. The paintings appear to be infecting the gallery, colonizing the spaces with new life.


David Blatherwick

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