Jules de Balincourt’s Painted World


A small painting of the earth hovers several feet above the 11 other works in Jules de Balincourt’s sprawling Bushwick studio. Lopsided and imperfect it hangs heavy, touches of pastels contrast with dark voids to denote different countries. It has all the characteristics of the folk-art aesthetic the artist became known for in the early 2000s. The colors delineated for each landmass could represent the disparities that persist in spite of globalization, an issue on the painter’s mind recently. More than anything, De Balincourt’s globe is a signal that when viewing his second solo show, “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart,” at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris [through July 2], details belie ambitions.

True to the artist’s style, the exhibition touches on a range of themes through abstract, pop, folk and figurative paintings. The latter is represented in When’s My Home Leave (2011) a 10-foot-wide painting of a mysterious and raceless man in a tropical setting, looking ready to leave Iraq or Afghanistan. Alternately Untitled (Merging Kissers) (2011) is a Platonic meditation on love.

YASHA WALLIN: In terms of your choice of content for your paintings, you’re all over the place. How do you see Boat People (2011) and Big Bang (2011) relating to each other within the context of an exhibition?

JULES DE BALINCOURT: Good question. I don’t know. Do you think they work together, or do you think it just looks like a group show with 12 different artists?

WALLIN: No, with the thin brushstrokes in places allowing the panel to show through and your muted palate, it all looks like your hand and that’s what the viewer sees, first and foremost. If you were an outsider looking in, what would you see as the thread that carries throughout?