“There is a long history of artists making works "after" those of their forebears. Although employing an advanced technological armamentarium, I am also working in that ancient tradition. Fueled by love, I'm reaching way back to a time centuries before the Modernist Revolution, searching for a way to make something equally revolutionary.”
D epicting the allegorical figure of Envy (L'Invidia), Barry X Ball's Envy embodies the central theme of his innovative practice: the search for perfection in the revitalization and reinvention of historical sculpture. The present work is modeled after Giusto Le Court’s masterful 17th century sculpture of the same name housed in Ca' Rezzonico, Venice. Envy is a mirror-image version of Le Court’s sculpture, yet certain elements allow for distinction – the use of Mexican onyx instead of marble, the completion of the sculpture from all angles rather than being purely frontal, and more naturalistic and soft curved edges instead of sharp edges characteristic of the Baroque. With the adoption of Mexican onyx as a medium, the present work is invigorated with color, texture, and physical depth that can only be achieved by a master sculptor. Furthermore, Envy includes a custom artist-designed-and fabricated pedestal assembly which is an integral accompaniment to the sculpture.
Barry X Ball’s sculptures, although paying reverent homage to their historical antecedents, are completely new. Through the use of unconventional materials and innovative methods, the artist reinvigorates the age-old tradition of figurative stone sculpture. Ball employs an elaborate array of equipment and procedures to realize his works, ranging from the cutting edge to the traditional, from three-dimensional digital scanning, virtual modeling, and computer-controlled milling to hyper-detailed hand carving and polishing. With their simultaneous penetrating intensity and surreal stillness, Barry X Ball’s bold works make an expansive case for the reconsideration of contemporary sculptural practice.