Matthew Ballou – Native of Upstate New York, transplanted to the Midwest. Husband, dad, artist, dreamer, doubter; trying to learn how to see and dream well.
Matthew Ballou is an artist and writer living in Columbia, Missouri with his wife and four children. Educated at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA ’01) and Indiana University (MFA ’05), he is a Full Teaching Professor of Painting and Drawing at The University of Missouri where he has taught since 2007. He has been Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Visual Studies Art Program since Fall 2018. Over the last several years Ballou has shown his artwork in solo exhibitions in Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Washington, as well as in a two-person show with Tim Lowly in Louisville, KY.
In 2012 and 2013 his work was seen in a prestigious group show juried by famed author and critic Dore Aston at First Street Gallery in New York City and alongside Ken Kewley, Barry Gealt, Emil Robinson, and others at The University of Missouri. A retrospective of works made between 2000 and 2012 was mounted at William Woods University in 2012 (catalog here).
Ballou increased his curatorial efforts in 2014 and 2015, spearheading a traveling exhibition at Anne Arundel College in Maryland and Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. This show, featuring the work of Anne Harris, Catherine Kehoe, and nearly a dozen others, was a major effort. The artist is currently preparing the third and final iteration of Restraint and Limitation, an exhibition featuring the work of Sharon Butler, Anna Buckner, and Gianna Commito. The show has traveled from The University of Missouri (2017) to Nebraska Wesleyan University (2018) and finally Riverside Art Center near Chicago, Illinois (2020).
Writing has been an important aspect of Ballou’s output since 2001. Highlights of his publications include a cover feature on the work of Odd Nerdrum in Image Journal and an extensive review of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Retrospective for the Chicago-based publication Neoteric Art. Ballou has been a contributor to Neoteric Art since 2009, and they released a collection of his essays, titled Nine Texts, in October 2011. A Finalist for The Ruminate Visual Art Prize in 2011, Ballou had several of his artworks and a short piece of writing published in Ruminate Magazine in 2012. He recently (2016 and 2017) completed texts for The MU Museum of Art and Archaeology, SEEN Journal, Oxford University Press (Grove Art) and The Finch.
Ballou is a passionate educator and was honored to receive an Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award from the University of Missouri Graduate Student Association in 2012. He was nominated for the prestigious William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2019 and 2020.
At work in the studio. Photo by Keith Montgomery.