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Jan 3 - 31, 2013
Jan 3, 2013 | 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Paul Balmer was drawn to New York City, like many before him, for its vast wealth of promise. He has always been an artist who draws deeply from his surroundings, so it comes as no surprise that leaving his native South Africa for this seat of modern culture entailed monumental changes in style, palette, and subject matter. The verticality of the skyline, the rows upon rows of windows, the distant shapes of ships on the bay, the curvilinear lines of suspension bridges, the expanse of glass, of stone, of concrete - all were constantly in the artist’s mind, and found their way onto canvas after vibrant canvas. “The shapes,” he says, “ come as unexpectedly as color combinations: gray with ochre, red brick going into blue shadow, rusty reds on a bleached wood and green oxidized copper roofs and hidden blue-gray domes.”
Like New York City itself, Balmer’s paintings buzz with the constant, irrepressible force of life. Far from being cold, Weberian interpretations of modernist architecture, his buildings are rendered with a tenderness than towers of steel. The artist’s undying, almost childlike fascination with the city is evidenced by his use of bold color and simple shape, while the variegated surfaces of his works evince his love for the craft Klee are inevitable- Paul Balmer’s paintings share a similar energy, a similar consideration of color, line, and shape. In the Shock of the New, eminent critic Robert Hughes wrote of Klee’s “spidery, exact line, crawling and scratching around the edges of his fantasy.” The same could certainly be said of Balmer: he possesses the rare ability to distill the character of his environment, as well as his own sense of raw wonder at it, into line work that is both frenetic and evocative. always have, inviting us to consider the space beyond.