Amy Kaslow Gallery Artist Talk with Renee Balfour

By Editorial Team on March 15, 2022
Ascending. Renee Balfour. 54” x 28”. Walnut. Courtesy of Amy Kaslow Gallery.
Talk: Thursday, March 17 at 6pm

Join Amy Kaslow Gallery on Thursday, March 17th at 6pm for an interactive evening with sculptor Renee Balfour who turns raw planks into the most sinewy, contemporary art forms. A gifted and generous teacher, Balfour will demonstrate for us just how she accentuates the wood’s contours, exposes its most beautiful grains, burls, and bumps. She’ll show us how she assembles the spectacular walnut and cherry pieces on our gallery walls for maximum shadow effect. Come for lively conversation and community, beautiful art, and a refreshing libation.

Sinewy, smooth and sleek and utterly multi-dimensional, Renee Balfour’s sculpted works come from nature’s treasure of trees, the black walnut, cherry, and white oak from White Oak Canyon along Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Manipulating large band saws and small chisels, Balfour’s skilled hands accentuate the grains of these majestic woods, creating new lines with space and color.  She sources her medium at the base of the mountain in Syria, Virginia, just a few miles from her Madison studio.  Balfour hand-selects each piece, but only after planing – the process of leveling the wood – reveals the color and grain. The artist brings the raw planks to her studio where, after further planing, she deploys her saws, her arbortech ball gouge, grinders , hand rasps, and sanders.  The result is a most refined series of organic sculptures, respectful to their roots. Nature Unbound includes eleven of Balfour’s works installed along our whitewashed walls, their curves and spikes casting shadows that transition in density and length throughout the day and into the night. This is relief sculpture in its most compelling form.

A natural teacher over her 30 year career in the studio, Balfour has meshed her ability with arts advocacy, working with University of Virginia Children’s Hospital and Community Art Works to help create sustainable arts programming for children in Rwanda. She is co-author of The Virginia Visual Arts Resource Directory and past president of McGuffey Art Center in downtown Charlottesville, where she maintains a studio. Balfour’s work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions in the US and abroad. She is the co-founder of ArtSmart Consulting Charlottesville, an art consulting group established in 2014 and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Amy Kaslow Gallery is located at 4300 Fordham Rd. NW. Learn more: https://amykaslowgallery.com/events/reneebalfour-natureunbound