Having immigrated to New Zealand from the UK in 1973, James Charlton gained his BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts in 1982. As a Fulbright recipient he completed his MFA at the State University of New York at Albany in 1986. Remaining in the United States for a further four years, he exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout the USA, and was represented by Akin Gallery in Boston and John Gibson Gallery in New York. During this time he lectured in sculpture at the University of New Hampshire, Monserrat College of Art and the State University of New York at Albany. Returning to New Zealand in 1991, Charlton became one of the founding members of the ASA School of Art Visual Arts Degree, and was subsequently appointed Curriculum Leader of Sculpture in the Visual Art Programme at Auckland University of Technology. In 2008 he left to take up the position of Programme Leader for the newly established Bachelor of Creative Technologies at AUT where he lectures in Sculpture and Interactive Media within the interdisciplinary research centre Colab.
James Charlton is New Zealand based trans-disciplinary artist who’s recent practice has developed out of an established sculptural practice. His work spans a spectrum of work that includes object based sculpture, stereo-lithography, installation, robotics, interactive screen-based and performance work. While Charlton’s practice is clearly located in the context of sculptural practice he engages a range of physical, digital and performative approaches in an exploration into the nature of the artefact as a field of activity in which the viewer is implicated. Reflecting on his practice in an interview with Deborah Lawler-Dormer, Charlton comments: “One of the problems I have with making sculptural artefacts is their inadequacy to embody process. Artefacts are after the fact, and seem to be quite removed from the generation of meaning. From recognising the act of ‘making’ as the key site for the work, it’s a logical step to move into interactive media and action based work. I don’t see myself so much as a performer rather as an activator of process.” Charlton. J. 2009, dForm, Catalogue. MIC. Auckland, NZ. His current research into the agency of the digital within sculptural practice is being undertaken as a PhD candidate with Transart Institute (US/DE) and Plymouth University (UK). This research contends digital-medias function as an inherently digital product and seeks to realign the digital as a method in respect to the demands of materials, and their relationship to temporal and incorporeal content. Solo exhibitions include “Be My Mirror” (2011), “iForm” (2011-12), “TradeAir” (2009), “dForm” (2008),“Constructing Purgatory (2006), “Saunders” (2001), “Why So Quite Child”(2000), Whiteware Ecstasy (1995) and Snow Ball Fantasy (1996). His work has also been featured in curated group exhibitions throughout New Zealand including the Vodafone Digital Art Awards (2005), Interior Horizons (Te Tuhi, 2001) Art Now (MONZ, 1994), Sharp and Shiny (Govett Brewster, 1997). Recent collaborations and group exhibitions include Body Tok Qunitet” (2012-13)“Air Travel” (2011), “iForm” (2011), “Inside Out” (2010), “Hybrids” (2010), “Covolutions” (2009), “Never Been to Tehran” (2007) Papers and publications include, On Remembering a Post-digital Future. (2014), Acts of Materiality (2013), Exhalent Gestures (2013), Observer Error and the Ecology of Representation. (2009), Reconciling interiors: The screen as installation, (2003).