This is the second in a series of interviews with each of the Sondheim Award Semifinalists. Finalists will be announced in mid-April, and will be on exhibit at the Walters Art Museum June 21 to August 17; those not selected as finalists with be exhibited at the Decker, Meyerhoff and Pinkard Galleries at MICA July 17 to August 3, 2014. (UPDATE: Finalists have been announced, congrats Kyle!)
Name: Kyle J. Bauer
Current Location: Roland Park, Baltimore City
Hometown: Benton, IL
School: BFA – University of Illinois @ Urbana Champaign; MFA – Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge
Current favorite artists or artwork: My absolute favorite artists are Martin Puryear and Robert Raushenburg, specifically Raushenburg’s “Gluts” series. Others I consistently follow are Rachel Whiteread, Anders Ruhwald, Paul Sacaridiz, Blue Curry, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Ken Price, John McCracken, and Ed Ruscha. A friend also recently turned me on to Ron Nagle’s ceramic sculptures; they are really worth checking out.
What is your day job? How do you manage balancing work with studio time with your life? I am the conservation technician of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art. My life is a delicate balancing act, but as each year passes, it gets a little easier. I am constantly using my phone’s calendar to stay up to date with meetings, shows, and artist talks.
How would you describe your work, and your studio practice? I am a mixed media sculpture and installation artist. My studio practice is equally conceptual and process based with a strong focus on formal composition.
What part of art making do you like or enjoy the most? The least? I enjoy everything about making my sculptures, from the first sketches to the final assembly and documentation. I live for the completion of individual pieces or a series of sculptures. The one exception is the anxiety I feel when loading a kiln to fire my slip cast porcelain pieces. The unpredictability is daunting, despite years of experience.
What research do you do for your art practice? I draw in my sketchbook, stack objects for compositional studies, follow the happenings of the art world through blogs (bmore.com, Art F City, Contemporary Art Daily), read art magazines (Art in America, Frieze, Sculpture), and observe as much about my environment as possible.
What books have you read lately you would recommend? Movies? Television? Music? I am currently reading the first chapter of David Pye’s The Nature and Art of Workmanship. It is really striking a cord with me, and I cannot wait to read more.
Do you ever get in creative dry spells, and if so, how do you get out of them? I have the ever present ebbs and flows of production. When I do feel stifled or in a funk, I usually break my routine and take several days to engage in different activities or give time for reflection.
How do you challenge yourself in your work? By staying busy, always applying myself, and never settling for what is comfortable.
What is your dream project? To be making and creating art for the next 50+ years.