Painter Stephan Balleaux is deeply entrenched in the mysticism of painting and its role in a world that grows increasingly more digital and focused on photographic documentation to portray the “truth” of what the world is. Balleaux’s canvases (he paints in oils and sometimes uses pastels) often feature loosely rendered, cinematic images culled from film and documentary stills.
These are then embellished with dark, sinewy, ectoplasmic shapes that seemingly pop into the scene as if from another dimension. These strange emanations seem to radiate their own sentience, as if existentialism morphed into a somewhat tangible shape. The blobs of stretched out and twisted paint are actually all trompe l’oeil, as flat as the painting they seemingly ooze out of. Clearly influenced by artists such Gerhard Richter, Balleaux’s paintings take the idea of using the methodology behind different mediums to create paintings that evoke a fuzzy surrealist-noir vibe but sharpen it up to create dynamism within the static. – Kirsten Anderson