A pillar of cratered Corten steel, Meeting Point allows the audience to observe the results of the processes used in Balmforth’s negotiation with materials. An engaging and tactile sculpture, Balmforth demonstrates the key relationship between the tool and the material, expressing the artist’s belief that “tools are more than instruments to accomplish tasks” (James Balmforth, 2018).
Through the direct encounter and manipulation of materials and processes, James Balmforth has created a triptych of site-specific works in the grounds at CASS: Recombination Point, Meeting Point and Boundary Interface, which is the final work in this series.
In order to create Meeting Point Balmforth has used modified industrial welding and cutting equipment to remove material but also build on and elaborately construct form. While the column could symbolise an obstacle or a fixed limit, the bored holes depict a movement across a threshold, drawing parallels to the processual excavation of material properties inherent too much of Balmforth’s work.
These investigational processes ultimately illustrate material responses and phenomenological outcomes, providing alternative understandings of the limitations and potential of both material and process.
This CASS Projects is supported by Arts Council England, Hannah Barry Gallery and William Benington Gallery.
About The Artist
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.