The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
SEEKING QUESTIONS TO LIFE'S BIG ANSWERS There are overlapping bodies of current painting and drawing work here, all figurative. When I worked with landscape imagery and the constructed environment years ago I liked to talk about formal concerns: painting as map or diary linking visual and verbal, conceptual and material, fact and fiction, abstraction and representation; not to mention a viewer building bridges between disparate ideas. With the paintings here, though, I would simply say that, considering all the images we are bombarded with every day, I am simply interested in memorable images. Hopefully they go in the direction of metaphor, poking around such timeless ideas as: truth, beauty, faith, time, the infinite, what we learn and what we know. It may seem questionable indeed these days to even concern myself with such unanswerables, but in an era when political and spiritual leaders assert that they in fact have the answers for us all, I think that art has the capacity to imagine otherwise, to offer some transcendent spark to bridge the gap between intent and form, between idea and the evidence of our lives.
Having said all this, you are likely wondering what the guys are all about. On a simple level they are my muse-- capable, multivalent, inspiring, everyman, and symbolic. On a deep level, though, they are my reaction to a world and art-world that historically privileges the image of the female in art and advertising. Not only is there a great gender imbalance in favor of the female, there is an outright prejudice against male imagery-- out of a perhaps-misguided feminist stance, or else a fear of being perceived as gay. I have discussed this issue at length in an essay called "WHERE'S THE BEEF? A LOOK FOR (AND LACK OF) THE MALE EROTIC IN CONTEMPORARY ART. IS THE TERM 'HOMO-EROTIC' PEJORATIVE?" (click here for the website text), an essay vetted and endorsed by Lucy Lippard and Raphael Rubinstein, among others.
The works titled MUSE / MUSEUM (2006-2016) are an ongoing series of paintings that began, in 2006, by hand-rendering museum and gallery ad layouts from art magazines and catalogs, combining them with my own painted imagery of guys. A few years into the project, though, I began to reference specific artworks in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, whose halls I wandered growing up in the city. Since then I've added a number of museums to the growing list of titles. It's all been a project that began as criitique, but morphed into one of ownership.
Jack Balas's website: http://www.JackBalas.com