The Ballou Collection – Borovicka, Ebbe, McCarter, Rodier

We’re coming to the end of another year fraught with so many weird, world-altering experiences. In the midst of that it’s nice to step back and enjoy some things that are relatively stable. For me, that often means seeing what’s up on the walls of my home.

I’ve posted a few other things about what artworks are up in the old Ballou homestead and I didn’t want to let 2019 slip away without showing more. So here they are.

Joey BorovickaThe Alchemist’s Lair. Risograph Print. 2018.

I have loved Joey Borovicka’s strange, evocative interiors for many years. This sweet little risograph print – with that intense pink and blue – is a kind of distillation of what the artist does well: borrow, shape, and craft mood. I wrote about Borovicka’s work in the latest issue (#8) of The New Territory. Go there and subscribe!

Micah Ebbe – The Guardians (6/50). Screenprint. 2002.

I’ve known Ebbe since we worked together nearly 20 years ago in Evanston, IL. I’ve enjoyed watching his career develop over the years. I encourage you to look at his website – the quality is astounding. If you love masks, phantasmagorical tableaus, or CosPlay, Ebbe’s work is for you.

Stella McCarter – The Hornless Unicorn (4/5). Etching. 2008.

Stella gave me this print when she graduated. I like it quite a bit, but the way I remember it Stella’s real passion was for pigeons. She made a number of works about the birds, their colors, and their varieties during her undergraduate years. Hmmm… I might have to get me one of those, too.

Justin RodierUntitled (3 Views of Ballou’s Drawing Room). Photographic C-Print. 2011.

Though Justin graduated from Mizzou back in 2012, his presence is still felt. He – along with a small group of other Photo students – were a real force to be reckoned with. His work has continued to develop and break interesting, strange ground. I love following his work on Instagram and was pleased to include him in a show I curated last year. Stay wild, Justin.

There you have it. Four more entries into the Ballou Collection. I’ll have to add more in 2020…

Restraint and Limitation at Nebraska Wesleyan University

The second iteration of an exhibition exploring trends in contemporary abstract art is now on view at Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Elder Gallery. The first version of the show took place last year at The University of Missouri and the exhibition will travel again in 2019 and 2020.
The main change in this 2018 version is that additional artists have been added, moving the roster up to 20 individuals – 13 women and 7 men. The works have also grown in diversity, with more sculpture, assemblage, photography, and fibers works entering the constellation.
Works by Erin King (wall) and Sumire Taniai (on pedestals) appear along the title wall.
Two works by Ryan Crotty, a tiny relief fibers piece by Hali Moore, and four digital works displayed on iPads by Sharon Butler.

This show centers on the work of Anna Buckner, Sharon Butler, and Gianna Commito. A constellation of 17 other artists appear in this view into contemporary abstraction, and their work incorporates Painting, Drawing, Digital Drawing, Photography, Fibers, Assemblage, Collage, Sculpture, Relief carving, and other forms.
Sarah Arriagada, Anna Buckner, Sharon Butler, Gianna Commito, Ryan Crotty, Joel T. Dugan, Dan Gratz, Michael Hopkins, Erin King, Kristen Martincic, Marcus Miers, Hali Moore (Oberdiek), Justin Rodier, Elise Rugolo, Amanda Smith, Lauren Steffens, Sumire Taniai, Jm Thornton, and Jennifer Ann Wiggs have work in this exhibition. Click on their names to see their websites and find out more about their work.
Three works by Gianna Commito engage with three works by Amanda Smith in this view of the exhibition.
As you can see from the exhibition listing at NWU’s website, I’ll be at the gallery on December 7 to talk about the show and answer questions. I’ll also spend some time meeting with students and engaging with the school community. I love the chance to spend time in the space with the work and field questions in the moments of viewer experience. The works are meant to be seen, interpreted, and extrapolated.
Three collaborative works – collectively a “Curator’s Statement” – by myself and Joel T Dugan are seen here on the left. A wonderful dimensional graphite and folded paper drawing by Marcus Miers and two sculptures by Lauren Steffens continue to the right.
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This wall, featuring tight formations by Sarah Arriagada and Kristen Martincic, is one of my favorite views of the show.

These few views can’t really give you a true impression of the show. I hope if you’re nearby you’ll stop in. My efforts to curate interesting collections of works are definitely becoming more and more important to me as an artist and educator. Particularly, with an exhibition such as this one, I am afforded the chance to expand and contract a specific intellectual and aesthetic gesture. I find that tremendously exciting. This iteration of the Restraint and Limitation show is probably the most expansive version that will happen, so it’s intriguing to sense how constrained it still feels. I am passionate about small works that distill meaning and experience, defying long-held notions about what art is supposed to do.
Three amazing fiber works by Anna Buckner hold a wall next to a strangely evocative photographic/found object assemblage by Justin Rodier.
To close out this announcement post, here’s the bit of writing I had affixed to the title wall:
The logic of abstraction cannot be reduced to a few dudes painting in mid-20th century America. This exhibition is meant to present another view. Anna Buckner, Sharon Butler, and Gianna Commito, the three core artists presented here, show commitment to the aesthetics and procedures inherent in abstract painting while bringing diverse pressures, materials, and processes to the form.

 – Matthew Ballou, October 2018.


Photos in this post are by Michael Larsen.