Jack Balas

Three Paintings by Jack Balas, Oil and Enamel on Canvas

Born in Chicago, Jack Balas earned a BFA and MFA in sculpture from Northern Illinois University. He first began painting in the 1980s and was swept away by the western landscape. After college Balas moved to Los Angeles and worked as a cross-country art-shipper, driving a month-on/month-off route between California and New York that took him regularly through Scottsdale and Tucson.

Eventually Jack Balas moved away from sculpture and began making paintings that recreated the narrative feel of maps, annotated with numbers and texts, and brief stories with images inspired by his experiences as an art trucker. Balas began painting in earnest while teaching figure drawing at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Balas’ goal is to create transcendent images that reveal the fictions surrounding great paintings as well as speak to the present with text and mark making. His current work focuses on the depiction of athletic young men, offered as a counterpoint to the unexamined tradition of equating great painting with the female nude. Balas’ men are presented as Everyman, – variable, philosophical, vulnerable, flexible and eager to please.

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