Iconoclast, Stage 12 or 13

ballou iconoclast stage 12 detail

Well, I’m still moving forward on the Iconoclast painting. It’s now rounding the final corner and I’m feeling the tensions and densities that I was aiming for coming out. Above is a detail showing the working, building, statement and restatement across the structures of the head and upper body. Below is a full shot of the piece. I’ll add some statement regarding the reasons for the piece and what I’m aiming at with it once it has announced its completion… probably a couple weeks.

ballou iconoclast 12

Neko Case Favorites

Neko Case‘s voice is something beyond description. You need to experience it. Go to NPR right now and listen to her concert recorded in April 2009.

Mark one up for sharing music: a few years ago a friend burned mix of Neko’s music for me. I now own most of her stuff – and I paid cold hard cash for it – because it’s all good work and worth every penny.

My favorites are a few from Blacklisted, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and Middle Cyclone – her latest. Here they are (with a few linked to YouTube videos of live versions):

From “Blacklisted” – Ghost Writing

From “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” – Star Witness and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

From “Middle Cyclone” – Prison Girls and The Pharaohs

My wife and I got to see Neko in Kansas City this past July; it was awesome. You should see her, too.

neko case uptown

Dodecahedron Bronze, Part 1

the wax

chris working the wax

Today I began preparations for making my first bronze work. I brought my wax work to Chris Morrey (a just-graduated MFA in sculpture from the University of Missouri) for approval/adjustments. We worked together to clean up the piece a bit (later on I’ll describe why I wanted this piece to have the form it does) and develop a strategy for the sprue system that will deliver the molten bronze to my form. I’ll update here as we continue – I’m excited!

One Unbelievable Gift

Yesterday evening was the reception for my show (with David Spear) at PS Gallery in downtown Columbia, MO. A while after I arrived, grabbed an adult beverage, and began to talk with guests, out of nowhere walked up George.

George, a neighbor of ours from Evanston, IL, is a man who exudes kindness and engagement. Alison and I lived just down the block from him – his mane of long gray hair was trademark on our block. Often he’d be out front playing frisbee with his young son or in his studio woodworking (he’s a master).  Always generous with his time and interested in whatever I was doing, I got invited to spend time in his studio a few times. We’d hang out and talk, each conversation tinged with his joyful, gentle demeanor; we have had some great conversations over the years. He and his wife have provided a good home to one of my most cherished paintings for a few years now. See it here:

The Measure, 2001

The Measure (detail), Casein on panel, 16 by 20, 2001-02

Anyway, George drove down from Evanston (just north of Chicago) early on September 10th. He told me he spent the afternoon walking around Columbia, seeing the University, visiting shops, and generally getting a very good impression of our little portion of the Midwest. He stayed through the reception, then took me out for an amazing dinner at Bangkok Gardens. We drank martinis (made to his order) and talked about all manner of things – from teaching and spirituality to art and family. It was a good time and a great gift.

George and Matt

Here we are in a photo taken by our waitress. A bit shaky but effective.

George emailed me this afternoon to say he’d gotten back to Evanston just fine. I’m thankful for devoted and joyful friends like him. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this gesture – taking two days and driving 800+ miles just to look at my work and share a meal with me – that’s what I’ll take away from that night and carry with me. I turned 33 on the 7th. This visit was an amazing birthday gift. Thanks, George.