Matt Ballou, 2023
Much of my recent work has focused on a series of abstract investigations I call WHENEVERwhen. A play on the tendency of folks in Missouri to say “whenever” when they mean “when,” I create the works with the intention of reworking visual expectations. To this end I deploy an array of formal strategies that accumulate over time and leave a record embedded within, and often apparent on, the surface of each work. The strategies I use are diverse, though they often function in terms of bifurcation or multiplicity. For example, an area of the artwork may appear to manifest as both light and solid structure, depict flat surface and spatial depth, or display counterintuitive weight and balance.
Among my most important tools in this process have been digital drawing apps and X&Y plotting. The use of the Plotter to create marks that I have designed but could never execute with my own hand physically is an important aspect of the work. While I do also use my normal drawing and painting methods in these works, their formal backbone is based on interacting with digital drawing files and Plotting tools.
The WHENEVERwhen series is serving as a kind of melting pot in my life as an artist. I am bridging influences across history and media in ways I have not done in the past. My proclivities are both affirmed and challenged. My assumptions are acknowledged, then used or set aside. Though somewhat disheveled and awkward, the resulting images are bursting with – in my estimation – beautiful color, shape, light, and suggestion. They are artifacts of aesthetic exploration, distillations of influence, and tributes to rigorous play.