Translating the energy, detail, and innovative perspective of his renowned cityscapes to classic still-lifes, Paul Balmer has created a new body of work on a breathtaking scale. Monumental, vibrant canvases immerse the viewer in striking yet casual arrangements of fruit and dishware poised as if on a giant gameboard, each geometric element balancing the others against patterned placemats and tablecloths in a palette reminiscent of summer celebrations, alive with yellows, oranges, blues and greens.
Balmer paints from memory; like Cézanne and Pierre Bonnard, two of his important influences, he prioritizes color, light, and perspective. “If I were to set up a bowl of fruit, and paint from that, I would probably end up with something too real. It would be restrictive. I prefer doing many drawings from my imagination. This way I can focus on the shapes, light, shadow, and composition while not being tied to any rules about how things should be.”
Originally from South Africa, Balmer has described his 1999 move to New York as a turning point in his work. Having painted more traditionally representational images when he lived in Europe, he found that “...in order to capture all the ‘action’ and ‘personality’ of [New York], I felt I had to flatten the perspective and curve straight lines and scratch surfaces.” The style he invented draws on influences ranging from tribal art to impressionism to expressionist masters like Kandinsky and Paul Klee. The new still-lifes represent a compelling discovery, yet another development in Balmer’s rhythmic, organic, and surprising visual language.
Balmer studied fine art in Sydney, Australia and has exhibited widely at galleries and art fairs in the U.S. and internationally, from the Netherlands to Korea. His work has received praise in Vanity Fair and ARTNews, among many others, and has found homes in numerous private collections.