30 Jan. - 01 Feb. 2015
Art Metropole at the 3rd LA Art Book Fair
Barbara Balfour’s response to David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest takes the form of an artist’s book entitled The Inkiest Black. Comprised of Needs No Introduction, Long List, Qualified Colours, and White, Black, it pays particular attention to DFW’s vocabulary, his written descriptions of colours, and the various iterations of white and black in the novel, ending with Balfour’s favourite, “the inkiest black”. For those readers overwhelmed by the thought of a novel 1079 pages long, including footnotes, The Inkiest Black is a more compact tome (140 pages) that nonetheless points you in the direction of Infinite Jest.
“Offering a look over Barbara Balfour’s shoulder as she reads David Foster Wallace, The Inkiest Black is eye tracking data made flesh. You won’t put down the dictionary or the colour wheel!” -Sarah Robayo Sheridan
“ This little book doubles as a gorgeous document of Barbara Balfour’s artistic vision and an appropriate tribute to the genius of the late David Foster Wallace. The range of his linguistic reference is revealed in its unique, sometimes goofy glory, even as the nuance of Balfour’s ink strokes bear vivid witness to his suicide-shortened life. It is a lovely thing.” -Mark Kingwell
“The real fun of The Inkiest Black is the artist’s savoring of the sensual experience of language, and of the persistence of meaning beyond syntax or context.” – Christina Ritchie
Barbara Balfour works in and out of print, from artist’s books to installation. Recurring concerns include the relationship between autobiography and the body, the embodied nature of handwriting, and questions of mortality. Her recent research involves text-based art practices and the multiplicity of print.
Barbara Balfour is an interdisciplinary and print media artist and curator who has exhibited her work and lectured across Canada and in the USA, UK and France. She has been a member of two artist collectives, the Toronto-based Spontaneous Combustion, and Venus Fly Trap based in Montreal. Her recent solo exhibitions include Soft Spots (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge), Designs for the Anti-Bubble (The Other Gallery, Banff), Selfish (The Koffler Gallery, Toronto) and Living & Dying (YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto – reviewed in Art in America). In the field of professional printing, she has worked for such artists as Leon Golub, Robert Indiana, Komar and Melamid, and David Rabinowitch.
In addition to print installation, artist’s books, and multiples, Professor Balfour has incorporated writing, video, and digital imaging into her art. Her art practice has been an inquiry into the representation of women within medical discourse and an examination of the relationship between soma and psyche. In her current research, she is considering notions of selfishness, manifestations of printing error, and instances of failure.
Professor Balfour joined the faculty in the Department of Visual Arts at York University in 1999.