ERIC HESSE

American Art Collector - - Contents -

Im­per­sonal Spa­ces

Within the mind of Laura Ball lies a pri­mor­dial land of en­dan­gered plants and an­i­mals—what she calls “my ark for the dwin­dling bio­di­ver­sity of the planet.” Her large works com­bine vastly dif­fer­ent an­i­mals, and are the sub­ject of an up­com­ing solo ex­hi­bi­tion at the Den­ver-based David B. Smith Gallery ti­tled Chimera.

A chimera, the artist ex­plains, is an in­di­vid­ual crea­ture com­posed of two or more ge­netic tis­sues. It’s a theme that Ball has ex­plored in the past, al­though she notes, “For this show, I’m us­ing a lot more botan­i­cal im­agery. I’m also think­ing about car­niv­o­rous plants and an­i­mals, and com­bin­ing the two.” The largest piece in the show will be 75 by 51 inches and fea­tures three tigers sur­round­ing and twist­ing among each other. She found in­spi­ra­tion for this se­ries in the col­lec­tion of the Los An­ge­les County Mu­seum of Art, par­tic­u­larly their In­dian minia­ture paint­ings, which fea­ture an­i­mals like deer, ele­phants and rab­bits in mo­tion and dec­o­rated with gilt gold.

Her Tree of Knowl­edge is based on the Per­sian myth of the Vaq tree, which has an­i­mals and hu­mans grow­ing out of its branches and dis­perses knowl­edge and

in­for­ma­tion. Her ver­sion fea­tures vines and branches that scroll across the en­tire page and end in gi­raffes, leop­ards and nu­mer­ous other crea­tures. Ball says, “This piece is re­ally the cul­mi­na­tion of ev­ery­thing I’m work­ing on.”

Though Ball has a rough out­line of what she wants a work to look like when she be­gins, she says, “Usu­ally the only thing that is pre­planned is the palette.” In­stead, she lets what­ever re­search she’s do­ing in the mo­ment guide her, let­ting the piece ex­pand and grow nat­u­rally.

“I am con­sis­tently amazed by Laura Ball’s in­tri­cate and en­er­getic works,” says Mar­sha Mack, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor at David B. Smith Gallery. “She has a ma­te­rial sen­si­bil­ity and an adept­ness for com­po­si­tion that con­sis­tently puts her at the top of her genre.”

Chimera opens De­cem­ber 14 with a re­cep­tion from 6 to 8 p.m. and con­tin­ues through Jan­uary 26.

David B. Smith Gallery 1543 A Wazee Street • Den­ver, CO 80202 • (303) 893-4234 • www.davidb­smith­gallery.com

wa­ter­color, graphite, gold foil and acrylic poly­mer, 32 x 44"2Flo­ral Fan­tasy, wa­ter­color, graphite, gold foil and acrylic poly­mer, 30 x 22"3Assem­bly of the An­i­mals 1, wa­ter­color, graphite, gold foil and acrylic poly­mer, 51½ x 32"4Bota­nary Man­dala, wa­ter­color, graphite, gold foil and acrylic poly­mer, 22 x 20"

1Red Wolf,

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