‘There is a temptation to analyse all of the strange groupings Graeme Drendel has devised… Many interpretations are possible and they will be equally right or wrong. That is the intriguing thing about so much of Drendel’s work – it simply defies explanation. Like a play performed in a foreign language or a fragment from a silent film, we know nothing of what came before or will come after. The artist himself is open, direct, intelligent and engaging, while the products of his mind and hand are in turn obscure, destabilising, puzzling and mystical. The balance of life goes on, the search for meaning through art continues to confound and delight and we cannot ask for more’. Excerpt from Graeme Drendel by Gavin Fry, 2016
Card Carriers showcases an exceptional series of recent works in oil, on canvas and on paper, by renowned painter Graeme Drendel. These engaging pictorial vignettes resonate with the mysterious atmosphere for which Drendel is celebrated. Drendel’s compelling works depict figures in isolation as well as in groups, poised within enigmatic scenarios that invite extended contemplation. Though at times perplexing, the narratives within these works echo poignantly as insightful observations of the complex human experience.
‘I think we’re all encased within our own bodies, brains, histories and the way we relate to people. Invariably, when we’re in a crowd of people we’re still very isolated. I do like the sense that these figures are vaguely connected but are very much lost in their own thoughts. The characters don’t know what’s going on themselves half the time – they are just as confused as we are. They are enclosed by the edge of a canvas, yet beyond, the vastness continues. It’s unsettling, why are these people gathered in a group in the middle of nowhere? …There’s a conscious humour in the paintings but also a lot of darkness. Those are the things that keep you interested. These figures have cavorted off into the landscape with each other. It’s that frustrating thing artists say – ‘it’s up to the viewer to interpret.’ Excerpts from Graeme Drendel interview with Artist Profile, Issue 43, 2018
Card Carriers is current until 6 October 2019