James Balmforth was born in Plymouth in 1980. In 2003 Balmforth completed a BA in Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Art & Design. He currently lives and works in London and is represented by Hannah Barry Gallery, London.
A selection of solo and group exhibitions include: Meeting Point, Cass Sculpture Foundation (2018), Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer, UK; SCULPTURE IN PUBLIC, WBG London Project, London (2017); Waypoints, Robilant+Voena, Milan; Release Mechanisms, Hannah Barry Gallery, London; Inhibition Point, The Line, London; ALL CHANGE, William Benington Gallery, London; What we all lack, Hannah Barry Gallery, London; Stations of the Cross, Methodist Hall, London (2016), GREAT Festival, Long Museum, Shanghai; Sacrifice, The Jewish Museum; London Christie's Curates: PAST PERFECT/FUTURE PRESENT, Christie’s, London; FIRE SALE, Dynamite Projects, Surrey; Prickly?, Causey Contemporary, New York; Exquisite Collapse, blip blip blip, Leeds; WORK, Elika Gallery, Athens (2015).
James Balmforth’s works are the outcome of an ongoing exploration and negotiation with materials, processes and transformation. He employs industrial techniques and mechanical apparatus to expose materials to forces such as extreme pressures or heat, evoking material expressivity. With a variety of methods and tools, Balmforth pushes materials to their physical limits and reveals thresholds, margins of tolerance, moments of transformation and their resultant forms or outcomes.
His practice uses sculpture and sculptural processes to draw out threads of material properties and capabilities, exploring symbolic mechanisms and how these can contribute to our ideas about history and society. Preoccupied with notions of limitation, thresholds and degradation, Balmforth’s management of subject and material focuses on the breaking points in a system, material or process and points towards the constructive outcomes of creative anarchy and destruction. By revealing the redemptive potential in collapse and degradation, the artist sees his work as exposing a latent potential, offering an optimistic, rather than fatalistic, worldview.