Mirroring, an exhibition of five new sculptures by Mowry Baden—Calyx, Septum, A Cappella, Upper and Lower Case, and Font—all made over the past three years.
Continuing the theme of mirroring explored in his last exhibition at Diaz Contemporary (Sept. 2006), Mowry Baden’s new work, Calyx, triggers mirroring phenomena in various ways. “When we watch another person executing a simple physical maneuver,” Baden explains, ”mirroring neurons fire in our brains. Even though we don’t move physically, internally we are copying the movements of those whose actions we observe.”
Articulating an internal awareness of movement and posture has always been the most important element in Baden’s work. He has built harnesses, furniture, rooms, pathways and catwalks, all with the goal of impinging upon the viewer's movements and awakening a physical self-awareness that was previously unconscious. Baden tries to provoke a perceptual crisis that assaults the viewer’s confidence in the information that comes through the senses. His practice has always involved materials, just like any artist who makes objects. Ideally, however, he is less interested in the object than in the experience. He wants the viewer to enter the object (or the space) and have an experience that is visceral, internal, and sensorially cross-circuit.
Baden’s recent exhibitions include Day By Day, a solo show of drawings from his journals at Victoria’s Deluge Gallery, April 2007; Caught in the Act at the National Gallery of Canada, October 2008, and Assume Nothing at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, January 2009. His work will be included in the forthcoming exhibition at the Pomona College Museum in California titled It Happened at Pomona 1969 – 1973. This exhibition opens in August 2011.
Born in Los Angeles in 1936 and educated at Pomona College and Stanford University, Mowry Baden has lived and worked in Canada since 1971. He has practiced sculpture for over 40 years and has taught sculpture at Raymond College, Pomona College, University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria, from which he retired in 1997. He has influenced a generation of sculptors in Canada and the U.S. with his engaging, participatory installations and has challenged contemporary sculpture through a staggering number of projects and artworks that borrow from psychology and architecture.
He is the recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts and has held solo and group exhibitions across North America including Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver and New York (including the Museum of Modern Art). His work is represented in prestigious collections in Canada and the USA. He has been commissioned to create public art works in Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Irvine CA, Pittsburgh PA, Washington DC and Lewiston, NY.
Baden received a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2006. Mowry Baden gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council.