Chris Ballantyne’s work focuses on vernacular architecture and observation of the American landscape. Banal features of suburban and industrial zones are sources for paintings that highlight the quirky and absurd. Notes Ballantyne, “Growing up in a military family and moving to different parts of the country, there was a certain familiarity to the kinds of houses and neighborhoods. They were a series of suburban developments built in separate regions of the country, always on the outskirts of larger cities, at the exit ramps of interstate highways, and all very similar in age and design. My own notions of space developed out of this cultural landscape which was striving for an individual sense of personal space, consciously economic, and somewhere between urban and rural.”
With shrewd restraint, Ballantyne accentuates the antisocial effects of our built environment with a hint of humor and plenty of ambiguity. A curious emptiness permeates the work. Graphically rendered buildings, pools, parking lots, and fences take on new meanings and amplified significance, isolated on flat fields of color.
Chris Ballantyne received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and lives in Brooklyn. He has exhibited at Peres Projects, Los Angeles and Berlin, Steven Zevitas in Boston, and Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco and New York. He was included in the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, the 2008 “Worlds Away” exhibition at the Walker Art Center and “Passageworks” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
This slideshow was selected by contributing art editor Mike Shankman.