Born in 1970 in Perth, Western Australia, James Angus is a sculptor and installation artist. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) degree at Curtin University of Technology, Perth, in 1990, and completed a Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture) in 1998 at Yale University School of Art in the United States. In 2008 Angus began living between Sydney and New York.
Angus has taught and lectured at Curtin University of Technology (1991, 1994), Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut (1998), and the University of Technology, Sydney (2002-2004).
Angus’ first exhibition was in 1991 at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, after which he began exhibiting widely, both in Australia and overseas.
He aims to challenge an audience’s perceptions through his sculptures, which simulate and re-imagine the real world. He takes everyday objects and transforms them beyond their normal state or function, usually altering their size, form, material, colour or context. These alterations place the objects in unexpected and sometimes fictional situations. For example, Rhinoceros (1995) is a life-size fibreglass sculpture of a rhinoceros, painted bright yellow and mounted sideways on a wall.
Although Angus is primarily a sculptor, many of his works are also installation pieces. He believes an artwork’s location is important, and installs his works to interact with the architecture around them. Shangri-La (2002), for example, featured a hot air balloon hung upside down inside the Sydney Opera House.
Angus’s works often incorporate digital technology both to simulate ideas and to physically produce them. For Soccerball dropped from 35,000 feet (1999) and Basketball dropped from 35,000 feet (1999), he recreated the moment of impact after a ball is dropped from an aeroplane. To calculate and model the ball’s disfiguration, he used digital software dynamics programs to simulate the impact.
Angus collaborates with designers, engineers, mathematicians and scientists. Some of his work remains hand-made. He researches extensively and creates drawings and maquettes of larger sculptures.
His work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Monash University Gallery, Melbourne; Auckland Art Gallery; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the collection of Auscorp, Sydney.
In 1998 he won both a Fulbright Scholarship and a Yale University Travelling Fellowship; in 2005 he was shortlisted for the National Sculpture Prize at the National Gallery of Australia; and in 2008 he won the Basil Sellers Art Prize, Melbourne.