Jules de Balincourt
Searching the Wave of Possibility
There’s the depth and scope, the sensational fields of vision in the paintings of Jules de Balincourt. As if in perennial perch just above the action, or off to the side observing the group, de Balincourt has found a unique angle in portraying our humanity, bordering at times on abstraction and even mysticism without straying too far from our reality. The colors may seem overly vibrant, the scenes a bit surreal, almost dystopian, but there is a familiarity and dreamlike paradise in each painting. From the hallowed galleries like Victoria Miro to Girl skateboard decks, de Balincourt’s work speaks to multiple audiences even as he becomes a staple of the fine art world. Marcel Dzama, a contemporary and fellow New Yorker, sat down with de Balincourt to share their collective insights on artistic practice, the power of scale, and hearing the voice of Vincent Price.
Marcel Dzama: I’ve noticed that your work is getting a little more political lately. Not that you haven’t touched on politics in the past, but I see it since the election, and I like that. Did you imagine your work going in this direction? Do you approach a painting with an idea or more formally?
Jules de Balincourt: Yes, it’s difficult during these Trump times for there not to be some sort of dark reaction or tone that starts to permeate in the work. As you might remember in the early 2000s, when I first started showing in New York, my work slowly became reactionary to the Bush-Iraq era.
I never really saw myself as a political artist. I think I was simply hypersensitive and aware of the political climate, and as that saying goes, “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” In these current times, if you aren’t against Trump or speaking against him, then you’re ultimately supporting him.
Regarding approach, my paintings begin in a purely abstract, intuitive place with no set preconceived image or idea. It literally begins as an intuitive dance of sorts, which eventually evolves into a recognizable figurative space, but is initially mined from a subconscious place. I’m interested in what happens in that crossroads where the work transforms from a purely abstract place and the decisions that are made to bring it into a figurative reality.
Image: Jules de Balincourt, Seeing Monkeys, 2015