Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ralph Balson

'The Sisters' 1939

'Construction #3' 1941

There's always something quite remarkable about people who are humble but talented. Ralph Balson (1890 - 1964) was an Australian artist who moonlighted as a house painter by day. His work was characterised by a clear development in his styles as he drew on Modernists and abstract artists such as Mondrian. I particularly love his Exhibition from 1941 (Anthony Hordern Gallery. Show titled 'Constructive Painting') which was really his launching pad to a wider audience. To backtrack over more than 30 years of his work you get a clear sense of how he absorbed elements of the artistic movements from Europe and elsewhere and applied them to his interpretations. His 1940's work saw elements of Klee and Kandinsky while his 1930's forms were inspired partly by the Cubist Movement. In the mid 1940's he became enamoured of Einstein and the Theory of Relativity. His non-objective paintings in 1955-56 look almost Pointalist. To have an intellect so open to change and the fearless use of colour and form really drew me to his works. Methinks I'll have to make a lot of pots to get one for Christmas!

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