Within Shouting Distance | Screenprint on Mounted Wood Panel | 36" x 48" x 3" | 2013
Grand of the East! | Screenprint on Mounted Wood Panel | 36" x 48" x 3" | 2014
Think That You Might Be Wrong | Screenprint on Mounted Wood Panel | 36" x 48" x 3" | 2013
Artist Statement: Southern Gothic, the term, is partly defined as the exploration of socially induced issues and the act of revealing the cultural character of the American South. With my current body of print works on mounted wood panel, I have been reinterpreting various places on the periphery of many Southern towns and cities that are, for lack of a better phrase, on the fringe of society. Ideas of blurred urban and rural county lines as well as backyard familial up-to-no-good all grace the compositions in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The relationship between dusty four-by-four trucks and shiny gangsta’ rides on thirty-two inch rims are the very core of Southern independent-minded symbols that represent the do-it-yourself aesthetic in the lower forty-eight. With an overarching theme of fun, additional thematic interests are incorporated into the visuals, including socioeconomics, race relations, literary references, and environmental planning. As a historian, Bill Ferris states: “The American South is a geographical entity, a historical fact, a place in the imagination…the region is often shrouded in romance and myth, but its realities are as intriguing, as intricate, as its legends.” Aligned with Ferris’ statement, these works represent an honest social commentary on the Southern landscape and way of life. I attribute this type of mysterious archetype, the good-ole-boy renegade buddy system as part of my personal identity. Hand painted signs full of innocently misspelled lingo, slowly if not already dilapidated architecture, and lines upon lines of generationally inherited hand-built homes are but a few of the autonomous monuments of the place I call home—the American Gothic South.
Though screenprint is the main process utilized, pochoir-like techniques, graphite inclusions, and hand applied acrylics are all current modes of process that are incorporated into this work. A large number of folks are intrigued by the visual outcomes that very much resemble painting—I execute like a painter, follow traditional modes of painterly application (scrape, drip, sand, brush). However, as a life-long printmaker, my modus operandi of working on wooden panel allows for far more freedom, happenstance, and experimentation than a traditional sheet of paper. In addition, many bits of found wood, which are normally salvaged to make support panels, are finding their way in/onto the actual compositions, making for a more believable, trompe l’oeil surface texture.
Andrew Blanchard was born in the wild swamps of Louisiana, though was raised in Waveland, a small beach community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Like most boys who grew up close to a beach, he fished and swam until the ring of the dinner bell. Blanchard earned a B.A. degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000 and in 2004 an M.F.A. degree from The University of Mississippi/Ole Miss in Oxford, MS. Blanchard’s prints have been collected throughout the United States, as well as in Hawaii, France, Bulgaria, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. His mixed-process prints on wood and paper have been included in over one hundred national and international juried printmaking exhibitions. Recently, several of his prints were included in Schiffer Publishing’s Printmakers Today, the 2011 Southern Edition of New American Paintings magazine and the Oxford American magazine, of which he was selected as one of the New Superstars of Southern Art. In 2014, his work will be featured in the International Painting Annual No.4 published by Manifest Creative Research Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Blanchard is currently the Associate Professor of Printmaking and Photography at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His work is represented by Southside Gallery in Oxford, MS and M Contemporary Gallery in New Orleans, LA.