September 15 - October 5, 2011
Odon Wagner Contemporary presents Painting Light – a special collection of 12 paintings and drawings by Canadian contemporary master John Ballantyne. These oil paintings and graphite works on paperare available for purchase. Please contact the gallery for information.
This introduction written by Anja Karisik was published in the exhibition catalogue:
"John Ballantyne creates images on the cusp of fiction and reality. Light bathes the exteriors and interiors of homes, churches and the Brome County Fair buildings in Quebec. There is a timeless quality to his paintings. Akin to the works of Alex Colville and Christopher Pratt of the East Coast school, Ballantyne's images are characterized by flat surfaces and frontal compositions.
At first glance, spare and austere, his emptiness is replete with meaning. The silent visitor in this emptiness is the sun. Her rays act as both a means of illuminating the subject and as metaphor for the transcendent. Empty interiors bathed in diffused light suggest spiritual enlightenment. A deserted stage or exhibition hall alludes to both expectation and wonder.
For Ballantyne, the process of painting is an inward journey to realizing 'the self'. Each painting is a cycle, the emphasis being the journey rather than the arrival. In conceiving his paintings, Ballantyne takes his first-hand experience back to the studio. In his preparatory studies, he lays the architectural bones, and while the hand manoeuvres the pencil, the mind envisions the colours and emotions.
His painting technique begins loose and free, gradually moving towards a precise and tight brushstroke. As a result of this approach, Ballantyne's works are rich in surface texture and playful in hidden detail. They impart a cool, mysterious aura. In his search for simplicity, Ballantyne leaves the viewer enlightened in extra-ordinariness."