Jules de Balincourt Ecstatic Contact
Known for his abstract and figurative paintings of utopian, dystopian and marginalized communities as well as American politics, Jules de Balincourt breaks new ground in an exploration of collective global anxieties.
Salon 94 Bowery proudly features Jules de Balincourt’s first solo show with the gallery, Ecstatic Contact, curated by Fabienne Stephan.
Known for his abstract and figurative paintings of utopian, dystopian and marginalized communities as well as American politics, de Balincourt breaks new ground in an exploration of collective global anxieties. Without a unified linear narrative, de Balincourt sets his lens to both macro and micro, zooming in and out of physical and psychic realities that comprise individual and collective experiences. The resulting works are a collision of the chaotic harmonies between disparate human experiences.
In his studio, de Balincourt simultaneously paints up to 10 works. Without preparatory drawings, he intuitively moves from painting to painting, allowing one to influence the next. The painting process reveals itself as images and elements are layered with thin washes of oil and acrylic paint on wood panels. Often small vignettes are found close-up in the paintings, scenes that are played out within the context of the larger composition.
This new body of work addresses the uncertainties of contemporary human life. The viewer may be unable to discern whether the burst of color over the ocean in Fireworks signals a celebration or an artillery explosion; whether the crowds gathered in Idol Hands are partying or protesting. This ambiguity is furthered in Off Base, in which soldiers are transformed into approachable boys affecting a pose for an official military photo. The overlay of green, red, brown and yellow camouflage on the soldiers’ bodies and faces unite them in a single abstract composition in which they are at once hidden and rendered visible. Ecstatic Contact, glows in fluorescent pink and red handprints, spray-painted dots, and linear paint strokes. In the artist’s own words this piece “emphasizes the metaphysical unity and underlying energy behind all exchanges and relationships, acting as the conductor, transmitter, and orbital center to the entire show.”
Jules de Balincourt was born in Paris in 1972, and now lives and works in Brooklyn. He received his BFA from California College of Arts and Craft in 1998 and his MFA from Hunter College in 2005. He has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; MASS MoCA, Massachusetts; MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome; White Columns Gallery, New York; Shanghai Museum, China; Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, Spain; Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, Paris. From 2006-2009, de Balincourt founded and operated the alternative art space Starr Space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Starr Space operated for three years and was used for diverse community programming, including art events, yoga, weekly farmers market, rock shows, church parties and fundraisers, with several performances from noteworthy artists, including Ryan Trecartin, Terence Koh, Rita Ackermann, Mirror Mirror, the Slits, Lucky Dragons and Harmony Korine. His work will be the subject of solo exhibitions at Victoria Miro Gallery and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2013.