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Ellie Balk

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I am an artist obsessed with color, pattern, music and mathematics. Through a process developed over years of working with community groups and high school students, I create systematic rules and use mathematical concepts as the basis of my artwork and installations.

My role in the work is that of a composer. I drive my compositions by creating specific rule sets and color codes that build systems with which can be read and interacted by the viewer. Although the work is formally abstract, there is a language to the compositions that engage participation and investigation.

My work specific to the discovery and interpretation of connections between people and culture through interactive, participatory visual artworks. The work finds balance between social networking, sociology and formal abstraction through means of visually interpreting data. I like to involve the community as much as possible and to get people to feel a connection to the space and to each other. This direct engagement with the public facilitates a dialog that builds community.

Although my work centers around mathematics, I am not a mathematician. I create musical scores, but I cannot read music nor do I know how to play an instrument. My naivety allows me to dive into an authentic artistic approach to create limitless and arbitrary systems. I am curious about people’s instinctual behavior and use this curiosity to create systems to be deciphered and played with. By manipulating the viewer to create confusion, I formalize the coincidental and emphasize the conscious process of composition that is behind the seemingly random. Their role in the work is as important to the work itself.

I have spent the last 15 years making work primarily in the public realm. Through mural painting, installation, musical composition, contemporary approaches to stained glass and performance work, I am interested in making art present and authentic to the experience of now. With this conceptual approach, I encourage the viewer to become part of the art as an added component. The all-inclusive socially engaging nature of my process is a driving force in the art making. I am inspired by ideas of Fluxus instruction performance, generative art and the work of artists Sol Lewitt and contemporary artist Rivane Neuenschwander.

You can follow her work @elliebalk

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