Temporal: Recent Paintings and Watercolors
January 10 – March 3
To start off the new year, the George Adams Gallery will present our first exhibition of paintings and works on paper by New York artist Chris Ballantyne. The installation will include recent paintings on unprimed wood panels and ink and acrylic works on paper, as well as a site-specific work painted directly on the gallery wall.
Ballantyne combines the precision of architectural diagrams with the fluidity of ink paintings in his spare, unpopulated landscapes. Combining suburban or urban constructions such as apartment complexes, highways or parking lots with natural spaces, he plays off the contradictions inherent to man’s relation to nature. Utilizing the lexicon of housing developments and urban sprawl, the repetition and featureless geometry stands in contrast to, or slyly mimics his expansive fields and forests, oceans and sky. The artificial compositions hint at absurdity: roads leading to nowhere punctuated by streetlights, endless city grids either self-contained or in infinite sprawl, backyard pools devoid of houses. In contrast, the natural spaces in Ballantyne’s paintings are flat and empty, only the most token details describe their content: some blades of grass, an edge of surf, the suggestion of leaves. It is where the two collide that is most provocative. The 2016 painting ‘Wave Cliff’ is such an example, a crumbling ledge with ranch houses scattered along its edge has the shape and energy of a cresting wave. More often the juxtaposition is more distinct, with boundaries carefully delineating the transition between spaces.
Born in Mobile, AL in 1972, Chris Ballantyne currently lives and works in New York City and has been exhibiting his work in the United States and Europe for over two decades. He is the recipient of several awards, including a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2005, and his work is included in multiple public collections.