Born 1939, Brighton, United Kingdom. Lives and works Perth.
Brian Blanchflower’s strong affinity with nature – a legacy of his childhood in the downlands of Sussex – is evident in his abstract paintings inspired by the natural environment. As a young artist in England in the 1960s, Blanchflower was impressed by ancient sites and megaliths – a clue perhaps to the artist’s consistent concern with our place in the cosmos. After immigrating to Western Australia in 1972 Blanchflower made frequent trips to the south coast of Western Australia and to the salt-lake region north-east of Perth, which formed the basis for many of his works throughout the 1970s and 80s. His abstract works took from the Australian landscape not just the colours and textures of the earth and shimmering night sky, but the parched vastness and sense of infinity associated with nocturnal visions.
Music has also been a source of inspiration for Blanchflower. The works of John Cage, Edgard Varese and Anton Webern from the 1960s, and later Gyorgy Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis and Giacinto Scelsi, as well as classical composers such as Bach and Anton Bruckner, have played an important role in his development as an artist. He has painted several homages to composers, and the British/Australian composer Roger Smalley wrote an homage to Blanchflower (‘Diptych’, 1990–92).
Since 1974 Blanchflower has held numerous solo exhibitions in Perth and Sydney, and has taken part in group shows in Japan, China and Australia. In the 1970s and 80s he was a key member of the pioneering group of artists, Praxis, which led to the establishment of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, and from 1972 to 1984 was a lecturer in fine art at the Western Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University). His works are held in major collections around the world, including most of Australia’s state galleries.