River Songs / New Paintings by Mac Ball culminates two bodies of work completed over the pandemic timeline. Much in keeping with his previous 2019 solo exhibit with Page Bond Gallery, these new abstract landscape paintings glean inspiration from nature and the environment in Ball’s native Louisiana, coastal South Carolina and the Bitterroot River in Montana. A March 2021 show in Louisiana titled Stillness reflected the quiet and slowness experienced during the early pandemic, with little land or air traffic to distract from the sounds of pure nature in the marshy topography of the Gulf Coast. His recent compositions also examine the phenomena of “movement and stasis in coastal and riverine settings” and take inspiration from the Zen rock gardens of Kyoto and the Bitterroot River of western Montana.
Ball’s newest works are born of a concern for the effects of climate change as evidenced by the recent wildfires, smoke, intensely high temperatures and drought experienced in the northwestern region of the United States this summer. In tune with the sustainable urban design initiatives and coastal storm water projects undertaken by his architectural firm, Ball’s concerns also extend to the deleterious effects of mining and industry on valuable and ecologically sensitive rivers and other bodies of water. “We must be better stewards of the natural environment, or it will no longer yield the power and beauty that we all love, admire, and depend upon,” Ball states. His works are a call to action, as their colorful abstractions invite viewers to consider the environment as a system of checks and balances, where every element plays its part in a larger, synchronized construct.
Ball earned his BA in Studio Art and English from the University of North Carolina / Chapel Hill, in 1975, and went on to complete his M. Arch. at the Yale School of Architecture in 1978. Alongside his career as an architect, Ball has participated in both group and solo exhibitions since 1993. He is a co-founder and Consulting Principal of Waggonner & Ball Architects in New Orleans and was elected to the College of Fellows (FAIA) at the American Institute of Architects in 2011. He recently took 2nd Prize in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s Louisiana Contemporary 2021 exhibit. His work is in the Historic New Orleans Collection, and various corporate collections, including Capital One Bank, and the Bayou District Foundation/Columbia Parc, as well as in the private collections of the former Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Deputy Director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.