Briggs Library Associates Senior Art Award
Naomi Ballard never intended to become a painter. She had always watched her older brother paint with a mixture of wonder and reverence. When he died in a drunk driving accicent in 2008 she turned to painting as a kind of therapy. With her husband's encouragement she continued painting, eventually enrolling in the University of Minnesota, Morris where she pursued a major in Studio Art and a minor in Art History. At the Senior Art Show this April her piece Woman Restrained received a Briggs Library Associates Art Award. The work, like all of her pieces, is a portraiture on wood. Each portrait gives her the opportunity to explore a connection to someone she is close to and tell their story.
"My work is all about relationships and family," she explained. "You can't do life alone."
The process to create Woman Restrained started with Naomi photographing her close friend in different poses. Then she sketeched her out on the wood and began layering watercolors. Once the figure was complete she turned to the background. Similar to printmaking she painted on metal and then pressed her work onto the rich grains of the wood.
For this show, her last as a senior before graduating, Ballard wanted to push herself with size and take advantage of a safe studio space. The result is seven total pieces, each taking up a substantial amount of wall space. Posing for her photograph, the portrait of Woman Restrained looming large behind her, it was easy to see the importance that Ballard places on the people in her life.
Art will continue to figure prominently in Ballard's life when she leaves Morris. Accepted into Jacksonville University where she will pursue a MFA next year, Ballard is looking forward to working with pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students as a teacher starting this fall.