Courting De Balincourt

“Jules de Balincourt: Unknowing Man’s Nature,” Zach Feuer Gallery (LFL), New York, NY. Through Oct. 13.

“Unknowing Man’s Nature” is one of Artcal’s top picks, and also recommended by Art Fag City. Paddy Johnson writes about de Balincourt’s paintings in Flavorpill: “Named by New York magazine as one of ten artists most likely to succeed in 2005, Jules de Balincourt launches his third solo show at Zach Feuer Gallery. In ‘Unknowing Man’s Nature,’ de Balincourt reprises his signature apocalyptic rainbows, suggesting both a powerful beauty and devastating force. This time however, his palette grows darker, revealing an even more somber optimism. Speaking to the works’ meditative aspects, ‘Untitled (Lake)’ is a flat depiction of recreational activities in small-town America, narrating the formation of American values. His small painting ‘Unkinking the Kinks’ reveals de Balincourt’s interest in deconstructing, contextualizing, and reflecting on his own iconography.” His work has been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Royal Academy of Art, London; Shanghai Museum, China; Prague Biennial 3, Czech Republic and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, and will be featured in a group exhibition at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia, opening in October. See James Kalm’s video of de Balincourt’s opening at Zach Feuer Gallery. Reviews to come shortly.

Anne Wehr in Time Out New York: “For better and worse, De Balincourt is beating a retreat into territory that�s become increasingly abstract, arcadian and apocalyptic, all at the same time.” Read more.

In the NYTimes Friday art reviews, Karen Rosenberg reports: “The back rooms retreat into a too-familiar faux-na�vet� via misspelled text, oddly placed works and a distracting sculpture of an erupting volcano. Tiny figures (natives? eco-tourists?) frolic beneath a waterfall in one of a series of tropical landscapes, oblivious to the crudely rendered subject of ‘Holy Arab’ gazing down from the adjacent wall….With his move to Europe, Mr. de Balincourt seems to have distanced himself from the folksy Americana of his earlier work; his challenge is to retain some of that intimacy and urgency without resorting to awkwardness.”Read more.

“Unknowing Man’s Nature” has been chosen as an ArtForum Critics’ Pick in the September issue. Christopher Bedford writes that “Many of the most challenging painters working today�Dana Schutz, Daniel Dove, Lisa Sanditz, and Tom McGrath, for example�are disparately engaged with one central (albeit multifaceted) question: What is at stake in negating intelligible mimetic imagery with passages of pure facture and, inversely, in undermining the autonomy of materials and process with overt images? And how can mining this dialectic through the act of painting help illuminate and analyze the human and material conditions of contemporary life? Where this ambition takes holds and directs Jules de Balincourt�s practice, his work is at its strongest.”

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