“PASSION” by STEVEN BALOGH
Balogh, 58, who was a well-known painter in Hungary, immigrated to the U.S. in 1986 after spending seven months in an Austrian refugee camp. “Passions” features several paintings done by Balogh in Hungary in the 1980s, recent abstract paintings, and multimedia pieces inspired by his twenty-year-old daughter, Lily Balogh, an emerging ballerina.
Balogh now works as a jewelry designer and model maker in New York City. He studied art as a child in Budapest. In the early 1980s, along with Viktor Lois, artistic director of CAI, Balogh was part of the Hungarian VLS Studio, a group of underground artists. Before the communism fell there in 1989, the government censored much of Balogh’s work.
The names of Balogh’s paintings in “Passions” from his rebellious youth – the Loser, Dialogue, The Kiss, and Masochist – reflect the intensity of his emotions. Balogh said, “My painting the Masochist is about my whole generation. We were unhappy and self destructive . it felt like we were hurting ourselves by drinking and smoking a lot.” Showing pain, red is a recurring color in Balogh’s raw expressive images. Balogh’s recent paintings are large in scale, abstract in design, and many are diptychs and triptych. Balogh squeezes paint directly from the tube onto the canvas, and uses his hands to tweak the images. Squatting down near the floor, Balogh performs a type of dance as he releases his emotions on to the canvas. In “Ciccolina Introducing Porn to an Ancient Tribe in the Amazon,” Balogh uses pink and orange swirls to express the rawness and humor of Ciccolina, Jeff Koons’ former wife, who was the most famous porn star in Hungary before marrying Koons and, at one time, was a member of the Italian Parliament. Balogh said, “One morning I got up and was angry about something. I can transfer my anger and emotion to the canvas.” It is clear from the exhibit “Passions,” that art is an outlet for Balogh. He added, “Every one of my paintings expresses different emotions.”