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COMPANY:
A SERIES OF PAINTINGS

In spring of 2020, right as the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic was shutting down the world, I began work on what became this series of paintings. The more I worked, the more I thought I was painting "company" -- visitors we were not allowed in lockdown in many states, and with social distancing neither required nor desired. Here are studio groups as the work goes along, some getting "finished" before others, while I try and figure out what they are all about. They are all brush-drawn India ink and watercolor on 30x22" Arches paper. What appear to be borders around each piece are the backing boards I work on. Updates to follow....

(May 24, 2020)

 

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Jack Balas, 2020; BOX OF BOOKS (#1932); India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

Text:
Louis came by the other day to help me carry a box of books over to his house, children's books I had growing up and now his wife was maybe going to put some into her paintings. His backyard is waist-high in purple wildflowers, and as we crossed it he said something about the seeds that I missed. We left the books by Zoa's studio, but when I got home I realized I have the same wildflowers on the kitchen table, and I ran my hand over it and felt all the seeds, tiny gritty grains of sand. I pulled a book off a shelf nearby, opened it, sprinkled seeds between some pages, and put it back to wait.

 

 

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Jack Balas, 2020; FLYING THE FLAG (#1937); India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

text:
Flying the flag was important to me growing up. I had a pole in the yard, and on holidays I would walk the neighborhood keeping track of who was flying it too, tallying results in what I called "surveys" (the day's weather too). I came across one the other day, and will say that all these years later I still notice when I see someone with a flag, but really in a very different way.

 

     
     
     
   
     
 
     
     
     

 

Jack Balas, 2020; THE PRUDENTIAL BUILDING (#1953); India ink and acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches.

The Prudential Building was the tallest building in Chicago the year my 4th grade class took a field trip to downtown. I'd never been in a plane before, and it would be years until, but there from the 42nd floor I could see all over the city and even all the way across Lake Michigan, the shoreline, everything. I was smitten. These days when I visit there are buildings way taller, but the Prudential Building, with the Rock of Gibralter on its face- I go in and try to see across to 1964 and me.

 

   
     
     

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