Zander Blom’s exhibition New Paintings at the Stevenson is his first showing in the Johannesburg gallery since 2013. He has dedicated a large part of his career to experimenting with the possibilities of creating a new pictorial language, largely playing around with the language of European abstraction, strange figurations and other experimental forms, but has never really abandoned the fundamental tools of paint and canvas and “an endless infatuation and frustration with painting and mark-making – a stubborn, impatient desire to will paint into a compelling composition or expression of some sort”.
With this group of works, made up of fragments collaged together on stretched canvases or loosely strung on washing lines, he continues with painting as his primary medium and his fascination with “the modernism shtick”.
He describes the works as “dragon-rat-bird-dog-humanoid mutations, nonsensical lighthearted nightmarish bullshit”. But he sees them as describing a rare moment of artistic liberation that he has “embrace[d] and mine[d] … for all it is worth”. The result is a provisional burst of artistic energy – an affirmation of his faith in his medium and mission, and an admission to its endless cycles of exhilaration, failure and renewal.