Sunday, May 20, 2012

Debbie Ballard: Alter Ego at the Valley House Gallery

I went to the exhibit Debbie Ballard: Alter Ego (Resent Sculpture) at the Valley House Gallery expecting to see resent work based around some sort of alter ego narrative. Turns out, this show is not about an alter ego, or resent work. Instead, it's a straight forward survey of an accomplished sculptor's creative path over the last ten years. A sculptor who's works of art quietly depict those moments when interior thoughts become illustrated in the body's posture.

Sure, depictions of rage and anger are easy, that's not what Debbie is doing here. These figures are caught in those spaces where the outer world dissolves, as thoughts begin to fold back upon themselves. These figures sit, stand and sometimes congregate in poses that reflect a certain amount of self absorbed melancholia.

Yes, these sculptures do tap into my secret fondness for the Pre-Raphaelites, except here, Debbie has stripped them of all the flowers, tapestries and silken hair. What remains is very moody and modern.

The Vallie House has done a wonderful job of curating this show. The newest works are found in the main gallery space, along with some really wonderful drawings and sculpture studies. There a dozen more sculptures scattered throughout the 6 acre, heavily wooded sculpture garden. These works range from 1993 - 2012.

All combined, this exhibition is a wonderful and unique opportunity to see an artist develop. And to see a clear illustration of an artist thinking, reasoning and quietly showing the world who she is.