'Art looks not only to significant thought, beauty and ideas that transcend our ‘age’ and existence, but also that ‘it’ exists for self provocation, humour, whimsy and immediate gratification'

William Blanchard

The work of William Blanchard is that of simplicity, ambiguity and also at first glance of a lackadaisical carefree concern. However, on closer inspection it is actually purposeful without thought and an essential asset to the very nature of his work; an antidote to the buttoned-up, shinny facade of the corporation that the artist and art world has become and is so fascinated and entranced with.

 

The influences in Blanchard’s work are easily identifiable from the Pop Art movement. The biggest of these influences include Paolozzi, Jasper Johns, Indiana, Rauschenberg, Peter Blake, Hamilton, Tilson, Peter Philips, Wesselmann, Oldenburg and Schwitters. The fact that they are so abundant and omnipresent in the work does not diminish nor detract from it, but shouts it’s brash influence and appropriation, taken and usurped as commercial reference to again comment and produce subjective sentiments on modern day.

 

To some extent, William Blanchard’s work has continued where Eduardo Paolozzi’s ‘Bunk’ lectures (1952) left off and has opened up a broad agenda in considering contemporary urban life through subjective musings. Like Paolozzi’s BUNK! collages, Blanchard’s work seamlessly integrates base commercial culture and images into his simple ideas, subjective declarations, personal outlook and feelings.

 

Blanchard work challenges the notion of ‘art’ by the structure, materials and the seemingly random juxtapositions of light-hearted characteristics and sloganeering that meter out the role commercial art plays in contemporary urban life. His work, in comparison to all those who have influenced him aesthetically, ironically goes against what those movements became and stood for. Pop culture in the 50’s and its elevation to high art status out of the realm of advertising, entertainment and escapism. Also, more recently, the elevation of ‘urban art’ and graffiti to the same high art status (with unparalleled commercial success not seen since Basquiat and Haring in the 80’s). Blanchard’s work is the opposite; It is less a comment on society, but more a personal reaction to what is going on around him, a subjective connection on our cultural life.  

Works