My God, It’s Full Of Stars

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I’ve been trying to find the right words to talk about the opportunity and honor I had to be involved with the wedding of my friend Keith and his bride, Amanda, last week. I’ve been speechless about it, and maybe that’s for the best. Instead, for now, please click on the image above. This is a dodecahedron lamp that Keith and Amanda got for me. I finished putting it together today. Just now I put it in my pitch black studio and took this image. For a few minutes my studio was full of stars.

Thank you, Keith and Amanda.

Matt Ballou: RANGE – Reception at William Woods University


My exhibition – Matt Ballou: RANGE – is still up at William Woods University until December 16, 2012. I hope you can go see it if you haven’t yet. Below are some photos of the space, both after the installation and during the reception. I want to thank everyone who came out – friends, students (graduate and undergrad, current and former), and colleagues – and especially Jennifer Sain for her help in making the exhibition happen. Special thanks to Jane Mudd for encouraging William Woods to host this show.


Installation, back on November 12, 2012.




Three panoramas of the installed work.


Two of my all-time favorite works… Locus #77 and #78




Beautiful angles and shapes during the reception…

At the reception I gave a brief impromptu talk that led into some interesting questions from the audience and my own musing on the work.


Me during my talk – Photo by Kevin Larson.

Click here to download the talk and Q+A session (42 MB MP3 format, 50 minutes long).

Some notes about the talk:


Photo of me at the talk – Photo by Eric Norby.

“Both Sides of the Brain” Mezzotint

I was invited to be a part of Aaron Coleman‘s traveling mezzotint exhibition. The show, scheduled to travel to at least 4 institutions, will begin its run in August of 2012 at Northern Illinois University. I’ll keep everyone posted as more information about these shows becomes available. Many thanks to Aaron for including my work! Here’s a peep at the finished piece, titled Agathokakological. Click the image to see it larger.

Mezzotint (Charbonnel ink on Zerkall paper), paper size 10.5 by 13.5 inches. 2012, edition of 21 (19 numbered and 2 artist’s proofs).

On Spirituality: Emerging Visions of the Spiritual

“On Spirituality: Emerging Visions of the Spiritual”

Marshall University, Gallery 842,
842 4th Avenue, Huntington, WV

Jan. 21- Feb 18th.
Opening Reception: January 21st, 8-6pm

Included Artists:

Matthew Ballou
Jared Clark
Jeff Guy
Stacy Isenbarger
Leonor Jurado
Natalie Larsen
Casey Smith
Rusty Wallace
Charles Westfall

My statement for the show:

“These works on paper are part of a series exploring the formal elements of an ancient geometric form called the dodecahedron. Made from twelve pentagons, the dodecahedron was thought by Plato to be the physical shape of the universe. It was the fifth – the quintessential – of his famous Five Solids. This Solid carries with it a number of metaphysical meanings, not the least of which is the notion of an amoral stage or arena within which the machinations of reality take place. In my works, the angles, shapes, and semi-tessellation of the layered dodecahedra bridge the distance between the organic and the mathematic, between the known and the unknowable, between physical description and metaphysical intuition. These contemplations re-imagine those of Saint Augustine, who saw spiritual epiphany as inherent in rational inquiry.”

One of my works in the show, Quintessence #4:

MAGNITUDE 7 at Manifest

My work, titled Galaxy (Shell, Fecundity, Emanation), will be seen at the 6th annual MAGNITUDE 7 exhibition at Manifest coming up at the end of this month. The piece is a mezzotint print that has been embossed with a unique collograph print.

And here’s my statement about the work for the show:

Over the last two years I have become increasingly enamored with the mezzotint printmaking process. I have used mezzotint as a way to find new and different access to some of the subject matter I have used for years in my paintings and drawings. Bricks, shells, geometric forms, and bodies have all become part of my mezzotint repertoire. Those geometric forms – specifically the Platonic solid called the dodecahedron – have begun to inform my mezzotints beyond simple representation; I have started using the angles of the dodecahedron and its constituent, the pentagon, as dimensional embossments upon the mezzotint prints.

In the work I present here at MAGNITUDE 7, titled Galaxy (Shell, Fecundity, Emanation), the beautiful gradients and milky consistency mezzotint is known for are used to display a shell, spinning in an amorphous space. Yet a fine tracery of lines and angular counterpoints shifts the surface level of the image itself, creating a bas-relief. The angles are formed using a collograph print over the final mezzotint. This collograph is a unique, one-time embossment; though the edition of mezzotints is all the same, the embossment seen in each print is one of a kind.

By embedding these angles (taken directly from the dodecahedron) onto the image of the spiral form shell, I reintegrate their inherent relationship, since both the spiraling of the shell and the angles of the quintessential Platonic solid display the natural mathematical beauty of Phi, the golden ratio. While the depiction of the shell can be a visual entry point for contemplation, the angles of the subtle embossment encode a physical reality into the artifice of the image. This duality is something I am hoping to develop more and more. I want the image and the icon, the depiction and the object, the picture of the idea and the idea itself, to become manifest in these prints as I continue them.

Collograph Prints

I’m beginning a series of collographic prints based on the angles of the pentagonal sides of dodecahedrons. Here are images from the first few.

All are in a range from 6 to 12 inches in diameter. I’m conceiving of them as tondos or ovoids, but haven’t decided on the orientations or how I’ll use light with them, since it’s so important to how they’re seen.

None of these prints have pigment of any kind on them.

Click on each image for a larger view.

Dodecahedron Bronze, Part 5

BallouPour02This past week I was able to participate in the actual pouring of the bronze for my sculpture. Above, the small furnace containing the crucible for the small amount of bronze needed for my piece.










The images above show the pour in process – it really was unbelievably hot.




Love that glow!




This image shows the beginning of the breakout process…




Starting to show through…




An inspection… The process is nearly complete. After all of the casting material is removed, we’ll sandblast the bronze, then polish to achieve a final look. We’ll also have to do some welding, in order to connect parts that were cast separately. My thanks go out again to Chris Morrey, who has helped out for the entire process, and to Jim Calvin, who stepped in as an experienced hand to actually conduct the pour.