College of Arts and Science
2001 School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA.
2005 Indiana University, MFA.
A native of Upstate New York transplanted to the Midwest, Matthew Ballou is a partner, dad, artist, doubter, and dreamer who is trying to see and dream well.
Ballou is an artist and writer living in Columbia, Missouri with his partner and four children. Educated at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA ’01) and Indiana University (MFA ’05), he is a Full Teaching Professor of Painting and Drawing at The University of Missouri where he has taught since 2007. He was Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Visual Studies Art Program from Fall 2018 to Fall 2021. Over the last several years Ballou has shown his artwork in solo exhibitions in Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Washington.
In 2012 and 2013 his work was seen in a prestigious group show juried by famed author and critic Dore Ashton at First Street Gallery in New York City, and alongside Ken Kewley, Barry Gealt, Emil Robinson, and others at The University of Missouri. A retrospective of works made between 2000 and 2012 was mounted at William Woods University in 2012 (catalog here). Ballou has had a number of notable two-person shows, including with Tim Lowly in Louisville, KY (2011), Jacob Crook in Moberly, MO (2011), Jane Jun in Columbus, MS (2016), and Joel T. Dugan in Kansas (2013) and Brooklyn, NY (2019).
Ballou increased his curatorial efforts in 2014 and 2015, spearheading a traveling exhibition at Anne Arundel College in Maryland and Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. This show, featuring the work of Anne Harris, Catherine Kehoe, and nearly a dozen others, was a major effort. Restraint and Limitation, an iterative exhibition featuring the work of Sharon Butler, Anna Buckner, and Gianna Commito was curated by Ballou. The show has traveled from The University of Missouri (2017) to Nebraska Wesleyan University (2018) and finally Riverside Art Center near Chicago, Illinois (2021).
Writing has been an important aspect of Ballou’s output since 2001. Highlights of his publications include a cover feature on the work of Odd Nerdrum in Image Journal and a profile on painter Joey Borovicka in The New Territory. Ballou also wrote an extensive review of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Retrospective for the Chicago-based publication neorericART, where he was a contributor to neotericART from 2009 to 2018. A collection of his early essays for the publication, Nine Texts, was released in 2011. He recently completed invited texts for The MU Museum of Art and Archaeology, SEEN Journal, Oxford University Press (Grove Art) and The Finch.
Ballou is a passionate educator and was honored to receive an Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award from the University of Missouri Graduate Student Association in 2012. He was nominated for the prestigious William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2019 and 2020.