Gillian Ballance in conversation at ISoA

Gillian Ballance, whose paintings are currently being exhibited in the Insight School of Art gallery, will be talking about her life and work in the upper studio on Saturday 28th September at 6.30pm. There will be a £5 suggested entry fee which will be passed on to the Helen Bamber Foundation, where Gillian continues to work.

The exhibition is a celebration of the life and art of Gillian Ballance, a brilliant 84 year old artist who is a member of the North London Artist Network and attends classes at Insight School of Art.

Gillian came to painting after a successful career in social work, working as a Psychotherapist and a Jungian analyst, and teaching at the University of Hertfordshire where she received an honorary Msc for her distinguished work.

After retirement in the 1990s, Gillian travelled to Mostar, Bosnia to help people traumatised by war. This was followed by returning to London to work at the Medical Foundation in Finsbury Park to support asylum seekers affected by torture and most recently, up to the present day, working for the Helen Bamber Foundation, supporting women who have been kidnapped and bought to Britain against their will.

Gillian describes painting as ‘art therapy’ and her work, although until recently quite unintentionally, reflects challenging events in her own life and the traumas she has witnessed through her psychotherapy work.

Gillian confesses to struggling to make paintings, continually reworking her canvases with thick paint until she finds her subject, often passing through numerous incarnations and consistently changing her compositions. She often revisits works months after announcing they were finished.

This exhibition can be read in three sections; Mostar, Cornish Seascapes and figure work, including three large monochrome oils on canvas depicting Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures; images of which Gillian has lived with on her bedroom wall since childhood, but only recently deciding to paint, in her own words; ‘the struggle of figures emerging from the stone’.

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