Layers of line and form shapeshift under the veil of indigo ambiguity. Punctuated by palpable desire. Unapologetically queering time and space into a non-linear dimension. A place beyond and between grand narratives. A collage of fiction and fact. Deconstructing familial function. A palette of gender and sexual fluidity. The painted surface of an imagined reality.
Warm ambient light radiated from glowing orbs as the last drops of the Summer rainfall pitter-pattered on the glass window in a cozy corner café. In between the interjecting sounds of the mechanical coffee grinder, Blake delved into the Tales from Here and Later. His solo exhibition made its debut at the experimental ROOM Gallery in New Doorfontein. A continent away from his Midwestern Catholic upbringing, Blake explores a deconstruction of gender, performance and desire in this new body of work.
The large-scale painted works are part of a personal mythology, rooted in experience as a ravenous rupture of yearning and a deep exploration of self. The cathartic process visually articulates narratives of craving in a complex visual form where words do not suffice. Blake began painting in 2009 and is constantly seeking to push the medium as far as its conceptual plasticity will go. He often subtlety blends ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, layering a personal intertextuality onto the canvas. “Folding into space”, through the mechanism of story-telling.
The abstraction of human form articulates changeable characters – amalgamated portraits of both artist and viewer. Through reading the work one constructs a, “queer lineage of yourself”. Established through a vicarious and semi-imagined space. Visceral reactions are elicited through Blake’s use of colour. A spectrum of tones conceal and reveal residue of humanoid forms and ghostly figures. Granting a metaphysical weight to “the endless death of being human”.
Blake resists the sanitization of ‘queer’ as a homogenized catchphrase, and instead attempts to de/reconstruct alternative articulations through a visual vocabulary to engage in radical gender theory. The potency of imagery is utilized through disrupting linear narratives and probing personal nuance to complicate queer histories of here and later.