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Chris Ballantyne
Zevitas Marcus, Culver City, California
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Chris Ballantyne, "Over the Falls," 2015, acrylic on panel, 48 x 64"

Continuing through March 5, 2016

Chris Ballantyne's suburban pseudo-dystopias are easy to get, though still fun to look at. He depicts ranch-style homes, subdivisions, cul-de-sacs and parking lots encroaching upon nature, even as they are encroached upon through the implicit impact of global warming. His seductive style, highly graphic with subtle and seemingly effortless painterly flourishes, has changed little over the last decade. Many of the paintings are executed with acrylic directly onto un-primed panels, a process that entails getting it right the first time, and he always does. Ballantyne's newest landscape subject is that of atolls.

One of the strongest works, "Atolls, Fractured Landscape," features three such atolls within a body of water, all deftly rendered via a honeycomb of very subtly shifting swaths of paint sections. The atolls themselves appear partially wet on their larger perimeters, the smaller centers rendered in dry sand and modest tropical forests; the illusion Ballantyne pulls off is that it's easier to read these as neutral geographical facts than it is to pick up on the inherent gloominess that exists within. The show's strongest work, meanwhile, is a small monochrome of India ink on paper called "Clearing,” in which a landscape is marked at its four corners by misty, subtly gradating rows of tropical forest, leaving the large white (unpainted) center a radiating, ghostly screen halo. Now that's a light-handed method of depicting nature's disappearance.

Published Courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2016

Zevitas Marcus

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