The Artists "Review" Artists Project was launched on June 30, 2008. Below is a "review" of Matthew Ballou's work, A Kind of Rescue, written by Sharon Butler. Matthew provided the second jpeg, an image of Liars (Bagged), as well as a brief response to Sharon's "review."
Matthew currently resides in Columbia, MO, and Sharon lives in Beacon, NY.
If you would like to participate in this project, please email me at jtkirkland [at] gmail [dot] com.
The shaped panel, like home plate on the baseball field, embodies a melodramatically composed and carefully rendered (perhaps painterly, but jpegs rarely reveal facture) still life of unlikely, though harmoniously colored, companions: twelve rusty metal spikes, eight chicken eggs, and three large pearlescent mollusk shells. The eggs seem to cascade mysteriously from the pentagon's topmost point as if just released from a ripe ovary. The phallic spikes hover lightly in a jumble on the floor to the right, a stray one resting parallel to the bottom edge of the painting, perhaps partnering uneasily with the delicate shell beside it. Is the egg nesting inside the shell the product of this improbable pair?
I imagine a series of paintings: either panels shaped in different geometric forms; or more pentagons, each harboring new overtly symbolic, seemingly weightless objects. At any rate, all would likely feature similarly melodramatic compositions, muted color, and proficiently mimetic rendering, at odds with the obtuse symbolism of the objects assembled.
Ms. Butler is correct in sensing that this image is one of a series. The group of twelve pentagonal paintings engages a number of pictorial strategies from iconography to portraiture. The pentagon references Plato’s fifth solid - the dodecahedron - a form consisting of twelve sides of pentagons. I consider myself a symbolist, tracing a lineage through contemporary artists such as Julie Heffernan to earlier painters like Ferdinand Hodler. This painting is representative of my ongoing attempt to participate in long-standing legacies of symbolism and metaphor via archetypal objects and forms, from eggs and shells to smoke, bricks, and bodies.
Pam Farrell on Ken Weathersby
Paula McCullough on Aric Calfee
Lee Gainer on Leigh Waldron-Taylor
Aric Calfee on Paula McCullough
Matthew Ballou on Heather Levy
Giovanni Garcia-Fenech on TJ Norris
TJ Norris on Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
Susan Tolbert on Mary Klein
Heather Levy on Gail Vollrath