The New York sculptor Barry X Ball makes bust sculptures that are simultaneously contemporary and classical. The contemporary artist takes the forms and production methods of traditional sculpture and joins them with modern technologies.
By recreating iconic art-historical pieces such as Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913), Ball strives to perfect the original, refine its various facets into a new material, and raise questions about casting and the role of authorship in contemporary sculpture.
See also:Sali Muller’s Shattered Sculptures
In Ball’s obviously magical hands, stone loses its stoniness: it appears to shrink, stretch, and sag, looking and behaving more like human skin.
Ball’s portraits are marked by a kind of hyper-compressed energy and visceral intensity that sends your mind reeling. Your thoughts vacillate between the likeness of the sitter, the aesthetic qualities of the stone, and the odd contortions of the form.
He uses the CNC milling technique, mostly on stone, to create replicable copies of famous artworks and portrait busts of contemporary artists such as Matthew Barney. With this production method, the sculptor transforms stone into a medium for editioned works.
Although many of Ball’s heads are disturbing in their distortions, their surface ornamentation, use of precious materials, and the enigmatic, visceral effects that they generate speak to a myriad of artistic influences.