David Ball Agent of Chaos – studio visit with Chris McCreary – Photos by Michael Cuffe for Warholian.com
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David Ball is an agent of chaos.
That’s putting it simply – but explaining it requires a great deal of complexity. Such is the nature of chaos.
With David’s work one finds tumult at every turn. His process blends such disparate elements as abstract expressionism, collage, Surrealism, contemporary figurative painting, Constructivism, and even the traditional corporate/advertising illustration techniques he learned from his father. It’s an incongruous skill set, harnessed to bring harmony from discord.
The final products will always carry deep, personal meanings for Ball – he’s described them before as the pillows into which he screams, and he’s laid himself bare in a recent video – yet, contrary to the common distance many artists will leave between themselves and their work, David devotes space on his website to explaining the thoughts and motivations behind the work. And as personal as every finished piece is for Ball, each begins anonymously, in swirls of paint spread organically across his canvases. It’s the start of a conversation David has with the work: losing himself in random lines and allowing his (usually) dark and (sometimes) scary thoughts to rise to the top of his mind, and the abstract paint begins to reveal lines and structure.
The abyss eventually gazes back to dictate form and figure.
Chaos being chaos, however, balance must be achieved; the incorporeal immediately yields to the rigid and the obsessive. The collage work that defines the visual identity of David’s pieces relies on the intricate cataloguing and organizing of thousands of pieces of fragmented source material, each one saved not for what it is but what it could be. Stripped of their identities, each is kept close for little beyond its texture and color. Ink and paint is meticulously applied between placed pieces to allow each component to flow into the next. Materials come to dictate where the brush must go: the conversation with the work continues. David calls this mating process “seaming,” closing the gaps, a unified something arising from nothing.
Figures arise; creatures and sinners and double-talkers not rendered so much as constructed. Each is a study in thoughts many would keep to themselves, yet increasingly David’s palette seems to pull one forward – warm and saturated tones hint at the Technicolor of youth, but beckon the viewer down the cold, dark path of what it is to be an adult.
Every step David takes requires a move in an opposite direction. Every illuminating action results from the darkness pulling back.
Give yourself over to the chaos.
- by Chris McCreary for Warholian
For more on the art of David Ball visit: http://davidball.prosite.com/