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COMPANY:
WISH YOU WERE HERE   (A SERIES OF PAINTINGS)

In spring of 2020, right as the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic was shutting down the world, I began work on what became this series of paintings. The more I worked, the more I thought I was painting "company" -- visitors we were not allowed in lockdown in many states, but with social distancing neither required nor desired. Here are studio groups as the work goes along, some getting "finished" before others, while I try and figure out what they are all about. They are all brush-drawn India ink and watercolor on 30x22" Arches paper. What appear to be borders around each piece are the backing boards I work on. Farther down a grid of the full series is being posted, with continual updates.

(September 20, 2020)

 

FULL SERIES GRID AT BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE -- 99 images (and counting).
Scroll Down or click here

 

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SOME HIGHLIGHTS:
(Full Series farther below)

     
     
     
     

 

Jack Balas, 2020; BOX OF BOOKS (#1932); India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

Text:
Louis came by the other day to help me carry a box of books over to his house, children's books I had growing up and now his wife was maybe going to put some into her paintings. His backyard is waist-high in purple wildflowers, and as we crossed it he said something about the seeds that I missed. We left the books by Zoa's studio, but when I got home I realized I have the same wildflowers on the kitchen table, and I ran my hand over it and felt all the seeds, tiny gritty grains of sand. I pulled a book off a shelf nearby, opened it, sprinkled seeds between some pages, and put it back to wait.

 

 

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Jack Balas, 2020; FLYING THE FLAG (#1937); India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

text:
Flying the flag was important to me growing up. I had a pole in the yard, and on holidays I would walk the neighborhood keeping track of who was flying it too, tallying results in what I called "surveys" (the day's weather too). I came across one the other day, and will say that all these years later I still notice when I see someone with a flag, but really in a very different way.

 

     
     
     

 

 
 
     
 
     
     
     

 

Jack Balas, 2020; THE PRUDENTIAL BUILDING (#1953); India ink and acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches.

The Prudential Building was the tallest building in Chicago the year my 4th grade class took a field trip to downtown. I'd never been in a plane before, and it would be years until, but there from the 42nd floor I could see all over the city and even all the way across Lake Michigan, the shoreline, everything. I was smitten. These days when I visit there are buildings way taller, but the Prudential Building, with the Rock of Gibralter on its face- I go in and try to see across to 1964 and me.

 

   
     

 

COMPANY SERIES GRID
Presented in order (numbered) as they were begun. All pieces are dated 2020, India ink and acrylic on Arches paper, 30x22 inches or 22x30 inches. Click on each image for an enlargement.
(POSTING IN PROGRESS-- A few works are yet to be finished.)

 

1882   Swirl

1884   a Head

1891   the Talk

1893   Lester Street

1894   Black Yard

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1895   Guy'd

 

1897 Hunter (Thinking of Winslow and those Adirondacks

 

1898   Poetry (O Try)



1899   Lieutenant

1900's
         

1900 Minotaur

  

1902 The Met (MUSE-MUSEUM series)

   

1903 Backwater

   

1904 Frame Fame

  

1905 The Net

         

   

1906 Cairn

   

1907 Guard

1908 And to All a Good Night (Friday)

  

1909
When It's Time to Write Your Story,
This Will Be the Cover

1910's
         

  

1910 First Mate

  

1911  Growl

 

1912 Woman with Stars and Fireflies

  

1913   The Count

 

1914 Harbinger (Igloo)

         

 

1915 Fin

 

1916 Company

 

1917 Cat

  

1918 Black Sun

  

1919 Game's Up

         

1920's

  

1920 Graduation

1922 Wish You Were Here (wrestler)



1923  The Late Hour

 

1924  Home Land: The Javier

         

  

1925   Hoops

 

1926  Home Land: The Ernesto

1927 Backyard

 

1929 Rain Down On Me

1930's
         

 

1930 Siren

 

1931   No Words Work

  

1932  Box of Books

1933   Dog (The Vastness...)

 

1934   Flag Dayze

         

 

1935   We The People

 

1936   Permission

1937 Flying the Flag

 

1938 Roil

1939   First Day of Summer

         

1940's

 

1940 To Be Continued?

1941  Discover America

 

1942   
This Road Does Not End

1943   Out

         


1944 (Not Yet Titled): Tiger

1945 That Youth Hostel in Canada

 

1946 Preface

1947 Ship to Shore

1948 The Pedestal

         

1949    Home Land-- The Tom

1950's
 

1950   Home Land: The Shane

1951  Home Land: The Dave

 

1952  Home Land: The Kenny

         

1953  The Prudential Building

 

1954   Roll

  

1955   Promises, Promises

 

1956 Swath

1957 As The Clock Ticks

         

 

1958 Gumball Chute

  

 1959 Blackout 1

1960's

 

1960 Blackout 2

 

1961 Campout

         

 



1963 Eminent Domain

 

1964 The Long View

  

1965 Summit

 

1966 Ladscape

  

1967 The Wave

         

1968 This Rich Narrative

1969 Poets Will Be Named

1970's

1970 Bull's Eye

1971 Roofline

         

1972 Merit Badge

1973 Birthday Boy

 

1974 Study, Eakins Swimming Hole

1975 Floor of Sky

  

1976 Refill

         

 

1977 Portage

   

1978 Now Open

  

1979 Some Other Time

1980's

1980 Mario

         

1981 Treasury
(War Memorial, Honolulu)

1982 Homecoming

1983 September Morn

1984 Moby Dick

1985 Young Man in an Old Story

         

1986 Able Baker

1987 At the Center of All Beauty

1988 Theme Song

1989 Message

1990's
         

 

1990 All Day, All Dave

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1992 Lettrs From Honolulu

 

1993 Hints of Defiance

 

1994 Bricklayer

 

1995 Percolate
(in progress)
         

1996 LittleLeague

  

1998 Same Boat, Same Guys

1999 Open Book

  2000's

 

   2000 Great Wave Off Waikiki

 

   2001 My Book

 

   2002 Election Day 2020

2003
(In progress)

 

   2004 Every Word, Every Letter (2)

 

   2005 Siempre

         

2006 Looking Back

 

2007 We Play With Abstraction Every Day

 

   2008 Pilot

 

   2009 Holy Land

2010's
         

2010 I'm Possible

       
         

 

 

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 TO CURRENT PAINTINGS 2017-2020

 

TO CURRENT PAINTINGS 2017-2020