For me it’s the scale which envelops the viewer; that whole nebula of colour, the ocean of colour, which just soaks you in. – Sydney Ball, 2014
Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney is delighted to present INFINEX V, an exhibition by the major Australian abstract artist, Sydney Ball (1933–2017), the first exhibition of the artist’s work since his passing. The exhibition of Australia’s greatest colourist had been planned during Ball’s lifetime to mark what would have been the artist’s 85th birthday. The exhibition will present large-scale works from Ball’s last Infinex series, his final and never before seen body of work.
Unseen during Ball’s lifetime, the INFINEX V series was planned by Ball as a series of large-scale compositions. Fabricated by Urban Art Projects the series has been realised according to the artist’s exacting instructions in automotive enamel on aluminium, a method of manufacturing he devised out of physical necessity at the age of 81 in 2014. As a way of honouring Ball’s working process, the exhibition presents both the finalised large-scale works on aluminium, a number of which have been realised posthumously, alongside a small series of intimate works on paper from 2013 which have never before been exhibited.
Comprising rigid geometric forms articulated in fields of contrasting colour, the INFINEX V series are crisply chromatic formal assemblages of individual but related planes of colour, which appear as if poised mid-motion. The mechanical process of their construction, which establishes a perfect surface finish – and belies the frailty of Ball’s condition at the time – associates these works with Ball’s important Modular series completed in collaboration with automotive painters in the 1960s. Black Reveal (1968-1969) from this period was seen by Sydney audiences this year in the 21st Biennale of Sydney. As Terence Maloon has described them, the Infinex series relates to the “immense outflowing of joie de vivre” in the late works of many great artists, such as in Monet’s waterlilies or Matisse’s cut-outs.