Selected works by James Balmforth

James Balmforth
Myth Interrupted


Plastic and cast iron

120 x 45 x 59 cm
James Balmforth’s sculptures are self-defeating monuments, icons of failure. An iron griffin, mythic symbol of earthly majesty, has been coated in bright red plastic; one wing has fallen off, revealing a hollow interior eaten away by rust. A dagger, associated with the power to take another life, has a brass handle but a gallium blade; if stabbed into a body the metal would melt, as gallium does on contact with human skin. The use of gallium introduces another significant theme in Balmforth’s work: the hidden life of matter, its secret complexities and failures. The griffin – entitled Myth Interrupted – has a prophylactic red skin, the colour of a postbox or road sign, that both protects and emasculates it. Reduced to a doorstop or garden ornament, the griffin embodies the absence of its mythical origins; a wing gone, it’s reduced to flying in ever-decreasing circles.
James Balmforth
Exchange (3/10)


Gallium and brass

35 x 5 cm

Likewise the dagger (Exchange 3/10), whose skillful construction – the cross-hatched handle with its delicate pommel – belies its inability to function as designed. Defanged and made a thing to be looked at (made art, in other words) the dagger becomes a metaphor of corrupted value, an element in a debased heraldry, while accruing, as if accidentally, uncanny strength and eloquence as art.

Text by Ben Street

Other Resources
James Balmforth- Additional information and images
James Balmforth- Representative gallery
James Balmforth - Artist's website
James Balmforth – Additional exhibition information
James Balmforth- Additional Exhibition information
James Balmforth- Additional Exhibition information and images

James Balmouth- Additional information
James Balmouth- Additional images and information