The opening reception for a new exhibition in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery was held on Jan. 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and featured two Chicago-based artists displaying their talents.
“Eclipse: Mike Baur and Steve Mueller” is the name of the exhibition, and will run weekdays from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. demonstrating a selection of Mike Baur’s sculptures and Steve Mueller’s paintings.
According to the artist’s official online biography, “Mike Baur is best known for his architectural scale concrete and steel public sculptures, but is also prolific in smaller scale works, exploiting any and all available materials he can work with his hands.”
Baur is known for combining steel and concrete because he claims that such “has become a lifelong approach to building form.” His work is strongly influenced by industrial components, architectural forms and landscapes while intentionally leveraging the “implied utility that industrial materials possess,” according to this website.
The artist has been continuously developing such visual themes for more than 30 years and proceeds to establish his artistic values by demonstrating his work in numerous locations in the United States and Spain as well as numerous museums, outdoor large-scale sculpture venues and group shows in the U.S. and Europe.
“My work begins with the considerations that all construction requires, but my goal is to arrive beyond formalistic concerns where the common materials I use transcend their origins. The unique power of the three-dimensional object is always paramount,” Baur said.
Along with Baur’s sculptures, the gallery also exhibits a variety of Mueller’s pieces. Mueller is the co-founder of Vector Custom Fabricating, Inc., a company that specializes in the fabrication of architectural metals and monumental sculptures, and has previously worked with Mike Baur among others. However, the gallery features only some of his paintings.
According to Mueller’s online biography, “Mueller attended John Herron School of Art where he studied with the likes of Gary Freeman, a famous sculptor who passed away this last year, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1976 before receiving his Masters in Fine Arts in 1978 from the University of Illinois.”
Since a trip in 2007 to the Kimberley region of Australia, the artist has been inspired to use ochres-earth pigments with mineral oxides.
“I have been working with a variety of ochres, from white to yellow, orange, red, brown and black, the color of each depending on the impurities of the individual mineral oxide. In addition to Australian ochres, I use earth pigments mined in France, Italy, Germany, America and India,” Mueller said.
He then applies the water-based medium on the dry pigments to allow them to exhibit their own characteristics and patterns of reticulation.
“The way different pigments meet, mix or establish a border is unpredictable,” Mueller said.
According to UIndy News, both artists “have a common thread in the use of familiar images and forms to create eerie abstractions in their artwork.”