Live, now, at Thought Catalog: “Memory Palace: Fay Ballard’s ‘House Clearance,” a review-cum-essay-cum-interview inspired by J.G. Ballard’s daughter’s exhibition of drawings of objects, magically charged by memory, which she found while clearing out her father’s Shepperton home.
Copyright Fay Ballard; all rights reserved. Image courtesy Eleven Spitalfields Gallery, London.
“House Clearance,” Fay Ballard’s exhibition of pencil sketches and watercolors at the London gallery Eleven Spitalfields (May 2, 2014—June 27, 2014), was inspired by the daunting chore of cleaning out her father’s house after his death, a rite of passage for more and more baby boomers. Ballard, who studied fine art at Central Saint Martin’s and botanical painting at the Chelsea Physic Garden, is known for her delicately limned “plant portraits,” as she calls them, which have been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts and are included in the collections of The Queen and The Prince of Wales. Her father, who died of prostate cancer in 2009, was J.G. Ballard, a writer of drily perverse science fictions written in the present tense, in the world brought to you by Charlie Manson, Madison Avenue, My Lai, Cape Canaveral, Zapruder frame 313, Bikini Atoll, Ronald Reagan, gated communities, self-help, S&M, augmentation mammoplasty, ubiquitous surveillance, reality TV, and terrorist “franchises” with media strategies.