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Rick Ball, Artist

It's All in The Feet

Rick Ball, Artist

photos

About Rick

How on Earth I Got Started

When I was in Year 4 at school, the class was given a project to do on Britain. I remember sitting at an old timber desk with ink well, mapping pen in hand and a Robinson Atlas open at the British Isles.

It was the beginning of lunch time, but I was engrossed in this pen and the dark ink as I began my squiggly line up the coast from London. Eyes darted like the needle of a sewing machine between the atlas and the blank page as I climbed up the twisted coast of England towards Scotland… noting every tributary and little island along the way.

After a while, it dawned on me that I could not guess the line of the coast. I was in awe. The shape of the British Isles was unpredictable and wild. I became enchanted and entered into this wild dance of coastline.

An hour later, the class tumbled back in and settled into work. I remember having a full bladder.

Instructions from Mrs Small

Some moments later I sensed Mrs Small behind me. Her arms, like uncooked bread, reached over my shoulders and her hands ripped the page from the book. Angry, she walked hard-heeled down the aisle crumpling my drawing in her hands. As the paper hit the bin, she turned and leered back at me "Richard, do it again. And this time do it properly!"

Along with other kids, I grew up inside a system that conceived the world to be an immense cluster of nouns… of things… such as house and horse… cutlery and cuttlefish. Each thing had its name and use. Atoms, molecules cornflakes… the world was distinct and solid.

Something in my sense of the world saw otherwise, though I did not have enough understanding of language to deal with it at the time. And this is the hub of the problem… I found that I could not paint nouns, nor draw them, nor think in terms of them.

I do not see the world as a noun, rather as a verb, wherein an intricate web of events unfolds in the expanse of time.

Surviving Mr Klimek's Ridicule

An identical situation occurred years later in my first year at art school. Twice, in fact, within the first six months. Mr Klimek was red-faced and furious on two occasions with works I had done in response to projects he had set. Again, both works were of the deepest importance to me at the time. Both were physically smeared by his angry hands, and left beyond recognition after he ridiculed my efforts in front of the class.

What was wrong with me? Why did my teachers respond so angrily to my work?

Along with countless other kids, I grew up inside a system that perceived the world as an immense cluster of nouns of things… such as house and horse… cutlery and cuttlefish. Each thing had a name and a use. Atoms, molecules, cornflakes… everything was distinct and solid… and purchasable.

My Sense of the World

But something in my sense of the world saw otherwise, though I did not have enough understanding of language to deal with it at the time. This is the hub of the problem… I found that I could not paint nouns, nor draw them, nor think in terms of them.

Slowly I came to see where the conflict lay. Most of the people around me saw the world as ordered. Everything had its place and classification and could carry the description of being either beautiful or ugly… useful or useless, and so on. Such a world is clipped and clear and functions like a billiard table.

However, I was seeing a different world… in form, more like a jazz improvisation than the sounds from a marching band. I felt comfortable living with questions, whereas my teachers seemed threatened in some way. I think they were seeing chaos in my work coupled with a strong pull towards ugliness. But this is not how I felt about these works at all. The situation was like this… I couldn’t eat their food, they couldn’t eat mine.

What I am writing here applies in principle to all my work, as you will see. But a significant portion of people seeing my paintings of the bush in days past have been distressed because of a lack of smooth harmonies and confirming graces to be found within the works… qualities held necessary inside the pinnacle and sacred purpose of landscape painting.

I do not see the world as silky smooth and risk free. Nor do I see painting that way.

Rick Ball, Artist: Broken Hill, Australia

photos

Recent Works: Intro

My Recent Works: Introduction

Before the move to Broken Hill, my work was divided into two sections. The paintings were taken up with an exploration of the land; the poetry of the bush. Works on paper explored the human as subject. These two functioned like the keel and sail of a boat giving each other both balance and movement.

Out here in the arid zones, a change occurred. Perhaps in the desert one has no need of a keel and sail. Anyhow, the human and the land started to merge in my mind… the two began to find a home within the same form. The traditional separation of man from nature became increasingly meaningless. The marks of western culture appeared to sit like a scratch on the skin of a reptile.

It is worth noting that an interest in the works of the prehistoric and indigenous peoples greatly increased at this time.

Presently, I see the context of my work in terms that includes prehistoric ancestors as part of a pertinent dialogue. I am disdainful of the dialogue that begins with the Parthenon and largely ignores the immense imagination of prehistoric people. I confess that something in me feels more enlivened by the marks of prehistory than I am by the tendency towards clever pictorial illusions developed by many in my western tribe.

Before moving to Broken Hill, my works were divided into two sections. Paintings were taken up with an exploration of the land, the bush and human interaction with its vast energy. Works on paper were given over to an exploration of the human as subject. The two functioned together like the keel and sail of a boat, giving balance and movement to the sailor, but facing opposite directions.

Out here in the arid zones, a surprising shift occurred. Perhaps in the desert one has no need of a keel and sail. Anyhow, the subjects of the human and the land started to merge: the two began to find home within the same form. The common separation between man and nature became increasingly meaningless. The marks of western culture appeared to sit like a scratch on the skin of an ancient reptile.

Intentions for the canvases and the smaller works on paper became a tandem ride, each happily swapping seats front and back to grab the handle bars. It is worth noting that my interest in the works of prehistoric and indigenous peoples greatly increased.

Rick Ball, Artist: Broken Hill, Australia

photos

Rick Ball, Artist

Rick's CV


Studies

1984

Bachelor of Visual Arts, City Arts Institute

1977

Diploma Education, Sydney Teachers College

1976

Graduated National Art School, Sydney

1973

Commenced National Art School, Sydney


Prizes

2012

Outback Art Prize (Winner), Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. Judge: Deb Wall

2009

Outback Art Prize (Runner-up), Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. Judge: Alan Sisley

1985

Blue Mountains Easter Art. Judge: Cam Grey

1984

Blackheath Festival Open Art. Judge: Joshua Smith

1982

Blackheath Festival Drawing

1981

Blackheath Festival Still Life. Judge: Brian Stratton

1979

Blackheath Festival Still Life. Judge: Reinis Zusters


Solo Exhibitions

2016

Contemporary Primeval, Broken Hill Regional Gallery

2011

Rex Livingston Galleries, Sydney

2010

The Simple Difficulty, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2009

Recent Works on Paper, Eye to Eye Gallery, Adelaide

2005

Recent Works, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2002

Recent Works, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

2001

Survey of Recent Works, University of Western Sydney

1998

BDAS Gallery, Southern Highlands

1997

La Caminade Studio, Brussels, Belgium

1996

BDAS Gallery, Southern Highlands

1993

Playing in the Sandpit, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney

1991

Cooks Hill Gallery, Newcastle

1990

Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1998

Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1987

Breewood Gallery, Blue Mountains

1986

Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1982

Home Exhibition, Lawson, Blue Mountains


Group Exhibitions

2015

Represented NSW regional art at Australia Museum of Democracy, Canberra

2015

Outback Art Prize, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2014

Outback Art Prize, Broken Hill Regional Gallery

2012

Tres Artistas de Las Antipodas, Spain

2012

Outback Art Prize, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2011

Outback Art Prize, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2009

Wilcannia Artist-in-Residence Exhibition, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2007

Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2007

Fairfax/IBM Building, Sydney

2006

Fairfax/IBM Building, Sydney

2006

Darling Park Foyer, IBM Building, Sydney

2005

Outback Art Prize

2004

RFDS Outback Artists, Darling Harbour

2004

Outback Art Prize

2004

Broken Archies, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

2003

Outback Art Prize

2002

Campbelltown Regional Gallery

2001

Alvaro Art Prize

2000

Six Australian Viewpoints, Albert Street Gallery, Mittagong

2000

New York, Soho Gallery, 6 Australian Artists

1999

Kedumba Drawing Prize

1997

Australian Connection, Brussels

1996

A to Z, Australia to Zimbabwe at the Zimbabwean National Gallery

1995

Rare Finds, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery

1994

Sturt Gallery, Mittagong

1994

Blaxland Gallery, Sydney

1993

Sturt Gallery, Mittagong

1993

Coast to Coast – 10 NSW Artists Exhibition, Perth WA

1990

Cooks Hill Gallery, Newcastle

1990

Sun Worship, Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1989

Mixed Exhibition, Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1988

Editions Gallery, Melbourne Victoria

1988

Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney

1987

National Parks and Wildlife Heritage Exhibition, Blackheath

1987

Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1986

7 Blue Mountains Artists, Delmar Weekend Gallery, Sydney

1986

Australian Paintings, Barry Stern Galleries

1986

Sydney Morning Herald Heritage Exhibition, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney

1985

10 Blue Mountains Artists, Blackheath Festival

1985

City Heritage Travelling Exhibition, Sydney Morning Herald, Blaxland

1985

Cooks Hill Gallery, Newcastle

1985

Breewood Galleries, Blue Mountains

1985

Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney

1984

Blackheath Festival Art Prize

1983

A Shared Environment, Penrith Regional Gallery

1982

Painters' Drawings, Pointon Galleries

1977

Exhibition of Friends Festival of Sydney

1976

Hogarth Gallery, Sydney


Collections

Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

Park Hyatt Hotel, Sydney

Twin Towers Resort, Queensland

Ramada Hotel, Sydney

Rosehill International Hotel, Sydney

AMP, Sydney

IBM, Sydney

CCHS, Sydney

Sheraton on the Park, Sydney

Goodman Fielder

Park Royal Hotel, Sydney Airport

Crown Casino, Melbourne

Lauda Air, Brussels

Mittagong RSL

Blue Mountains City Council


Private Collections

Australia, UK, USA, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Belgium and New Zealand


Television Coverage

2010

Stateline, ABC

2007

Sunday Arts, ABC


Publications including works

The Refining Fire – Dawn Mendham, Albatross Press, Melbourne, 1987

New Art One – Nevill Drury, Craftsman House, 1986

Art on the Cove – A Collection of Australian Art – Olsen and McEwen, EIE

Wesnik Design, 1991

Images 2 - Nevill Drury, Craftsman House, 1994

Images 3 – Nevill Drury, Craftsman House, 1998

Stones Don't Speak – Vivienne Schroeder, 1998


Contact Rick at Argent Street Broken Hill Australia

www.rickball.com.au

Broken Hill, Australia


The Solitary Dancer

from series

year

1993

medium

oils on canvas

dimensions (w x h)

56 x 56 cm



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Rick Ball, Artist

The Solitary Dancer