Barry X Ball


by Laura Heon and Barry X Ball

Published by SITE Santa Fe


Barry X Ball's stone heads, which the New Yorker has characterized as "indescribably freaky" and The New York Times as "bizarre," push detail beyond reason. Working in marble and multicolored semiprecious materials, including lapis, Ball stretches and contorts his subjects--all of whom are noncommissioned, some of whom are prominent figures in the art world--and overlays their faces with textures such as brocade and lace. Each piece starts with a plaster life-cast, manipulated in a time-intensive process involving three-dimensional digital laser scanning. The results are at once immediately disturbing and enduringly classical, recalling, in their fine materials and exquisitely finished surfaces, Roman and Egyptian sculpture and memorials. Ball, born in California in 1955, has exhibited at P.S.1 and at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and now at SITE Santa Fe. This first and only monograph, featuring 12 heads and a new series of Scholars' Rocks, marks a new phase in his rise.