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Catalogue : Sydney Ball, The Colour Paintings 1963-2007



Catalogue Image Catalogue : The Colour Paintings 1963-2007,
Price $(AUS) 20.00,
Essay by Wendy Walker
Design by Analiese Cairis

and is available from :
Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art Gallery, Paddington, Sydney, NSW
Charles Nodrum Gallery, Richmond, VIC
Penrith Regional Gallery and The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains, NSW
Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, SA
McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Melbourne, VIC

House : Architectural & Land Influence



House : South West Elevation

"In 1976 Ball Purchased 10 hectares of Land at Glenorie, north of Sydney. His award-winning house - designed by Glenn Murcutt and completed in 1983 - is a raised corrugated iron pavilion situated in a powerfully atmospheric terrain of rocky outcrops and shaggy stands of tall eucalypts, where he has uncovered many ancient Aboriginal sites, including rock paintings. A close observation of this landscape is critical to an appreciation of the impetus toward expressive figuration in the 1980's and 1990's - a development meticulously chronicled in his sketchbooks. This period is not part of his Colour Paintings exhibition, which focuses solely on Ball's abstract paintings from the 1960's and 1970's, augmented by the more recent works begun in 2002.

The Emergence at the end of the 1990's of an insistent form in Ball's paintings - reminiscent of shapes in early drawings of rock formations from his landscape works - gave rise to the asymmetrical, ragged-edged motifs in the abstract paintings of Structures 1, exhibited at Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art in 2005. Striking in its formal ascetic restraint, the subtitle of Structures 2 (2007), Abstract Architecture, is an indication that Ball's point of reference for the new series of work was architectural form in space; specifically, both the contemporary architecture of Zaha Hadid and the reductive modernist constructions of Mies van der Rohe. (Prior to his art studies Ball's background was in architecture)

The dynamism of Ball's paintings is predicated on a rigorous attention to the nuance of colour relationships. His selection of colours (secondary and tertiary) is compelling for they are rarely straightforward and frequently unexpected.

From the outset, Ball has maintained that the circle motif - critical to the graphic potency of the highly-resolved Cantos - represented the Chinese symbol for infinity. In the vibrant paintings of the 2007 Structures 2 series Ball reinstates the disc within a square as a strategy (as it was in the 60's) for the introduction of additional colour. Finally, in Sentarix (2007) there is a consummate sense of symmetry in the simulation of the palette used in the 1966 Canto XXXXI; perennially contained, the form itself has now broken free.

Ball's oeuvre may be regarded as a succession of evolutions, in which each concept is comprehensively worked through and continually reassessed, so that even within series there is conscious variation.. Paralleling the ambitious scale of his paintings is a continual desire to push the boundaries. This willingness to experiment and to take risks propelled his move to New York and, later, his extensive travels in Japan, China, Korea and india, where in a remarkable body of work of which the enduringly authoritative colour paintings in this exhibitions are a significant part."

  Wendy Walker
    (Excerpt from the Catalogue "Sydney Ball, The Colour Paintings 1963-2007" pp21).

House : North Elevation
House : Interior View