Harold Balazs at The Art Spirit: Letting Go

It's easy to be distracted by Harold Balazs, the legend. We're surprised to learn that he's in his 80s and still producing large volumes of work, including the 80 new pieces for his most recent show at Coeur d'Alene's The Art Spirit Gallery. We're curious about his ability to diverge from his trademark metal works into such media as enamel, woodworking, and drawing. And we are so amazed by his fortitude that we forget to talk about the art.

And the artwork is fascinating, as viable now as it was 20 or 40 years ago. That's the thing with true artists, perhaps; they usually improve over time as they hone their craft, reflect on their process and contine to refine their content. (Pardon my sounding a bit elitist by actually distinguishing amongst artists but, come one, I can think of at least a few local "artists" who would benefit from learning from Balazs' model).

The thing that comes across most in this latest body of work is a sense of letting go, a different kind of energy than his usual works, maybe even a transition. Balazs' lexicon of images is still abstract in places, yet at other times it's feeling much more gestural and unfettered. Energy. Yes, that's what I love about Balazs' work: it never fails to acknowledge the relationship between viewer and artwork, to engage us energetically, and to express itself with exuberance.

Harold Balazs, My World of Differents, through February 27. The Art Spirit Gallery, Cda, Idaho.