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Born in Belfast, Brian Ballard trained firstly at the College of Art, Belfast and then at the College of Art, Liverpool. He still lives in Belfast but spends long periods of time living and working in his house on the remote and rugged island of Inishfree off the coast of Donegal.Brian

Ballard enjoys painting and is constantly inspired by his response to the ordinary things, such as a vase of flowers, an old iron, a figure, a landscape, a model in his studio. He tends to work in intense bursts of creativity; surges of self-expression that often punctuate periods of restless inactivity. Once started, he may paint the same subject several times, a change of light, of weather, another viewpoint, a difference of scale or proportion of canvas being sufficient to prompt another exploration of the theme. The landscapes he paints are often harsh and untamed such as those off the coast of Donegal or Kerry. He paints the same scenes repeatedly in order to gain the confidence to express its many moods in paint. These landscapes are painted 'en plein air', in front of the subject.

Ballard prefers those moments when the sun infused the landscape with colour and chiaroscuro. Ballard is a rich colourist and is interested in the contrasting colours and textures in simple subjects. Painting directly onto the canvas with vigorous brushstrokes, he uses bold slashes of rich colour across a solid and heavily laden with fluid paint in which the bristles always leave their mark of speed and pressure, they are subject to a structural order, as well as a pictorial depth. He strives for balance in his work and his struggle is always centred on a concern to create a subtle harmony of colour and form, a search for the 'structure of a painting' and a desire to entice and lead the eye where he wants it to go.

Brian Ballard handles a paintbrush with confidence and a sense of purpose, suppressing details in order to capture an object in bold, decisive strokes. Ballard is concerned with the essence he sees in things. His subjects are always comfortable recognisable, but his treatment of them is invariably painterly and not an alternative to a photograph. He admires artists like Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, who painted in hard strokes with courage and audacity; for this is his way.

Exhibition History

Selected Group Exhibitions:

1967 Butlin Foundation for Young Irish Artists, Arts Council Gallery, Belfast
  Duchas Exhibition, Queen's University Gallery
1969 Seven North of Ireland Painters, David Hendrick's Gallery, Dublin
  Contemporary Irish Painting, Part Square Gallery, Leeds and Glasgow
1970 David Hendrick's Gallery, Dublin
1971 Art Spectrum, Ulster
1982 Listowel International Biennale III
1989 Images of Mourne, Narrow Water Gallery, Warrenpoint
  "Salute to Turner", Thos Agnew & Sons, London
1990 Images from Ireland, Brussels
1995-6 Solomon Gallery, Dublin
1996 Banquet Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy
1998 Ansteys Galleries, Harrogate
1999 Art Miami

Solo Exhibitions:

1970 Queen's Gallery, Belfast
1972 Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
1974 Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
1976 Bell Gallery, Belfast
1977 Image Gallery, Dublin
1980 Image Gallery, Dublin
1982 Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
1983 Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
1985 Newry & Mourne Arts Centre
1986 Grafton Gallery, Dublin
  Main Fine Art, Glasgow
1987 Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
  Solomon Gallery, London
  Beaux Arts, Bath
1988 Solomon Gallery, London
  Kerlin Gallery, Derry
1989 Grafton Gallery, Dublin
  Beaux Arts, Bath
1990 Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
  Mistral Galleries, London
1991 Beaux Arts, Bath
  Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
1992 Waterman Fine Art, London
1993 Cadogan Contemporary, London
1994 Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
  Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
1995 Cadogan Contemporary, London
  Trist Ann's Gallery, Dundalk
1996 Solomon Gallery, London
1998 Solomon Gallery, London
  Cadogan Contemporary, London
1999 Trist Ann's Gallery, Dundalk
2001 The Kenny Gallery, Galway
2003 The Kenny Gallery, Galway


  • Ulster Museum
  • Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork
  • An Comhairle Eala�/Arts Council of Ireland
  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • Great Southern Hotels
  • Harverty Trust
  • A.I.B.
  • Jefferson Smurfit Group Plc
  • P.J. Carroll
  • Salzburg Seminar
  • Ulster Television
  • Belfast Education & Library Board
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Guinness Peat Aviation
  • Waterford Crystal Plc
  • National Trust
  • U2
  • C.R. Sugar Trading
  • Conrad International Hotel, Dublin


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