J a c q u e l i n e B a l a s s a
My work focuses on close observation and interpretation of landscape. I have developed a very personal visual language informed by my study of Early Italian Renaissance painting – Giotto, Duccio, Veneziano, Fra Angelico – with its delicate balance between observation and imagination and more recently, after a trip to China in 2018, Traditional Chinese Mountain – Water painting, also an imaginative and inventive interpretation of nature.
Beginning with observational drawing, I aim to express my visual and felt response to particular places and to create a balance between an otherworldly quality and observed reality. This is what I love most in visual art. I invent equivalences using the compositional elements to recreate the scene from my drawings and memories. Although I use sophisticated technology to prepare my images for painting, I work just as these ancient artists did in that I don’t use photographic or digital references. I believe this helps me achieve a unique and poetic interpretation of landscape.
My current work is based on my immediate environment, notably my neighbour’s wild bush garden on the foreshore of Sydney’s Middle harbour. I have discovered endless inspiration in this small area, which I can visit and observe every day.
Jacqueline Balassa holds a BFA and MFA in painting from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, with other studies undertaken at the National Art School, Sydney, Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney, the Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze, and private instruction with Professor Christian Snyders, also in Florence.
Balassa has had 12 solo exhibitions and participated in over 35 group exhibitions in Sydney, Hong Kong, Canberra, Melbourne, Orange Regional Gallery, Manning Regional Gallery and the Kedumba Gallery in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Among her awards are the Gruner Prize for Landscape Painting and the Glebe Art Prize. She has been a finalist, and received commendations, in many significant art awards, including the Salon des Refusés, the Mosman Art Prize, Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Georges River Art Prize, Korean-Australian Arts Foundation Award, Kedumba Drawing Award, Rick Amor Drawing Award, Adelaide Perry Drawing Award, Kings School Art Award, NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize and the Blake Prize. Her work is held in the UNSW Alumni Collection and the Kedumba Collection of Australian Drawings. Balassa is currently preparing a solo exhibition to be shown at Art Atrium, Sydney.
Jacqueline Balassa was elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2022.