When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chris Ballantyne

Untitled, Parking Lot (and Rocks)  acrylic on panel  48" x 36"  2008

Untitled, Fence (and Trail)  acrylic on paper  20" x 16"  2008

Untitled, Inlet  acrylic on panel  72" x 48"  2008

Untitled Intersection (Woods)  acrylic on panel  48" x 36"  2008

Backyard Fences (Plank)  india ink on paper  12" x 16"

Chris Ballantyne's paintings are spare. The compositions are often extremely simple, formal arrangements of shapes. The details are executed in a highly graphic manner. He sometimes paints directly on a wood panels allowing the grain of the wood to create a background texture, or he'll paint atop a textured wash to give the work a certain ephemeral depth, but ultimately he leans toward a stripped down minimalist treatment of representation. The results are surprisingly evocative. In almost all of his work he is describing physical spaces, man-made spaces, demarcated by walls, fences, roads, a simple line. It is the boundaries that are his subject matter. The spaces themselves are almost always empty.  There is a loneliness to these images, a sort of bleak nostalgia for emptiness. But there is an undeniable element of humor layered through them as well. It's as if our propensity for loneliness, our constant need to create arbitrary boundaries and call one side in and the other out, is in fact a very amusing sort of habit if you stand back from it just a little. One of his few figurative pieces (not shown) is of surfers riding what's called a standing wave or tidal bore. The wave does not move. It is, in a sense, a kind of boundary and the figures ride upon it, going nowhere, neither upstream nor down. This nonspace, this betweenness, this state of being nowhere in particular, this is the realm of Chris Ballantyne.
You can see more work on his website, www.chrisballantyne.com, although there's currently nothing more recent than 2008. There are few more recent images at Hosfelt Gallery and at Steven Zevitas Gallery

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