Weight, stability and permanence are important to me; this must be why industrial components, architectural forms and landscapes have always influenced my work. Combining steel and concrete has become a life long approach to building form; while often bringing into the mix plastics, wood and stone to expand on this foundational dialogue. I intentionally leverage the implied utility that industrial materials possess while avoiding the literal. My current sculpture continues the visual themes I have been developing for over 40 years. 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.
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.
After graduating with a BFA from Arkansas State University in 1973, he attended the University of Illinois Graduate School in Sculpture (MFA'75). While in his first year at Urbana Mike switched from fiberglass to concrete after losing several large pieces in a tornado. In 1974, he won an international competition to build a 200-ton concrete sculpture in Barcelona, Spain.
Baur's sculpture can be found in numerous locations in Illinois, in the United States and in Spain. His monumental pieces are sited in Taragona, Spain, in The Illinois Department of Transportation Building in Springfield, on the campus of Elgin Community College, in Northpoint Marina in Winthrop Harbor, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park among others.
He was represented by the venerable Sonia Zaks Gallery, Chicago from 1981-2005, OK Harris Works of Art, New York from 2007 until its closing in 2014,and has exhibited in numerous museums, outdoor large-scale sculpture venues and group shows in the United States and in Europe. Baur is currently represented by MAM gallery in Omaha, NE and Olsen-Larson Gallery in West Des Moines, IA and Gallerique in Chicago.