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 planning – the process of leveling the wood – reveals the color and grain. The artist brings the raw planks to her studio where, after further planning, 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 nine 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