“Strive” – An Exhibition of Pastel Work

My show, Strive, opens on November 2, 2009, at Bellevue College Gallery in Bellevue, Washington.

paroxysm

Here are a few links to some of the work that will be in the show:

The Impossible Geometries of Contemplation

Heavy

Current Events

Revealer (Forced #1)

And here is my statement about the works, written for the show:

Strive – Pastel Works by Matthew Ballou

The group of works I present here – each in the tondo format and created in many layers of pastel – is a small contemplation on the gesture or shape of struggle, concern, and distress.

I have created dense surfaces and chromatic environments meant to play in the distance between implied narrative and votive stillness. Though I take cues from the ways bodies move through and react to stress or pain, these are not pictures of actual pain, nor are they meant to address the true physical reality of hurting. They are instead symbolic stylizations of the aches we feel, inspired by an iconography of bodily form and posture. They imagine the machinations we get up to when in states of deep anxiety, whether in our banal daily lives or amid the worrisome questions of intellectual engagement. They are about a kind of conceptual discomfiture distilled through the image of the body.

My desire for each work is two-fold. First, I aim for the artworks to stimulate reflection, creating some key resonance in viewers, perhaps via the memory of past physical or metaphysical tension. Secondly, I want the artwork to function as an argument for the image of the body as a meaningful metaphor beyond the constraints of individual persons or singular moments.

A summation: “Everything takes form, even infinity. We seek to determine being and, in so doing, transcend all situations, to give a situation of all situations. Man’s being is confronted with the world’s being. The being of man is an unsettled being which all expression unsettles.” – Gaston Bachelard, from The Poetics of Space

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