Arc 3 1983
Artist: Mike Baur (American, b. 1951)
Materials: limestone, concrete, steel
Provenance: Long-term loan, courtesy of the artist
Mike Baur completed his BFA in sculpture after suffering through the loss of his studio and completed sculpture to a tornado during his senior year at Arkansas State University. He continued his education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing an MFA in 1976. The artist lives in West Chicago, Illinois. He creates sculpture at a wide variety of scale, from table top to monumental.
Arc 3 reflects Mike Baur's interest in using materials which show evidence of their history, not only in the rough-hewn and hardscrabble edges that characterize the concrete he often employs, but the manner in which his sculpture proudly displays its slow decay. That the work is reminiscent of an artifact, like " . . . things no longer intact and functional, that were pulled up, dug out of the ground" is intended.
Often his objects are deceptively simple, pared to a formal essence that carefully balances hand-wrought and machined form. There is nothing withheld from the viewer –what we see is what the artist intended. His work is a straightforward orchestration of shapes, texture, age, and subtle coloration and he asks the viewer to observe and appreciate it as such.
Baur's Arc 3 communicates a quiet strength in its arrangement of cast concrete and limestone lintels. Its placement inside the small atrium-like space created by a stairwell's proximity to the university's main entry lends a meditative quality to our experience, which is augmented by the sensitive placement of gray shale as ground cover throughout the space. How would our experience of Arc 3 change if we encountered it at the top of a hill in the open prairie?