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COUNTERPOISE A solo exhibition by

SARAH BALLAM October 2019

142 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood | info@gallery2.co.za | 011 447 0155/98 | www.gallery2.co.za


“Beauty comes from the balance between two and three dimensions, between abstraction and representation – I seek the equilibrium behind changing appearances.” - Henri Matisse


Sarah Ballam, Terra Rosa, Oil on Linen, 120 x 200 cm


Sarah Ballam, The Furies, Oil on Linen, 120 x 200 cm


Sarah Ballam, Three Graces, Oil on canvas, 120 x 150 cm


Sarah Ballam, Figure, Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm


Sarah Ballam, Terra Incognita, Oil on linen, 120 x 200 cm


Sarah Ballam, Women running on the beach (after Picasso), Oil on Linen, 120 x 150 cm


Sarah Ballam, Swimmers, Oil on canvas, 120 x 250 cm


Sarah Ballam, Diver, Oil on linen, 120 x 150 cm


Sarah Ballam, Seated Figure, Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm


Colour startles in the new work. Dynamic, even confrontational, these paintings challenge our commonplace expectations of colour and shape. Local colour – the colour an object “owns” – has been replaced with saturated colour, more rooted in intuition than observation. Although embedded in the figurative, these works lean into more abstract realms. The tension between form and dissolution, between the need to structure composition and render dissipation, is what draws us in and holds our attention. Ballam references celebratory images of women by great modernists – Matisse’s dancers and Picasso’s women running on the beach. These are reworkings of artists who are key pillars of the male modernist canon. Are the Ballam paintings a homage, a challenge, or both? The roots in art history go back further, into classical friezes of Antiquity and their traditional themes like the Three Graces. Ballam’s entranced figures recall to mind the Pompeian mystery cults of which only fragments of murals remain. The American art critic Harold Rosenberg famously stated that “… the canvas is an arena in which to act.” Large canvasses make unusual physical demands on a painter. The large canvas is likely to be the recipient of bolder, emphatic gestures, trapping and holding the energy and emotion of a painter. Ballam’s paintings are arrived at through a succession of applications, broad swathes laid in with large brushes and palette knives, then drawn into with incisive fluid line. Each painting is the result of a perilous voyage, a tightrope walk into the unknown that requires considerable poise. And counterpoise.

Carl Becker – October 2019


SARAH BALLAM

142 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood | info@gallery2.co.za | 011 447 0155/98 | www.gallery2.co.za

Profile for Gallery 2

Counterpoise - Sarah Ballam Catalogue Gallery 2  

“Beauty comes from the balance between two and three dimensions, between abstraction and representation – I seek the equilibrium behind cha...

Counterpoise - Sarah Ballam Catalogue Gallery 2  

“Beauty comes from the balance between two and three dimensions, between abstraction and representation – I seek the equilibrium behind cha...

Profile for gallery2
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