Movement, Muscle, Measure
September 28, 2016 - October 28, 2016

By Michael Baum
Drawing and kinesiology to examine the convergence of sport and art.

Baum-Michale Process Image
Michael Baum's process for creating art

Exhibit Notes

Reception Friday, September 30, 5 – 7
Artist’s talk, at 6

Michael Baum left the plains of the Dakotas in his early twenties for the mountain ranges of California, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Alaska. His interactions with nature and the wilderness became the impetus for his graduate studies in fine art, which he completed at Washington State University with an emphasis in drawing and printmaking. Michael is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Black Hills State University in South Dakota, as well as curator for the Ruddell Gallery.
Through rigorous physical practice he explores the intersection of kinesiology, drawing, and technology. He has an extensive list of exhibitions and was awarded a career development grant through the South Dakota Arts Council for a series of drawings entitled Heart to Heart. This exhibition will include up to 40 drawings four different series and will track his process of creating.

Artist Statement

My work employs both drawing and kinesiology to examine the convergence of sport and art. I make work with the aid of drawing devices that have been designed to record various outdoor pursuits, ranging from long distance cycling trips, to backcountry ski tours. The resulting work exists as a series of drawings, an indexical record of my travels. The images stand as a document providing the means of engaging and communicating with both nature and the self through performance.

Methods for automating drawing, particularly drawing from life, appeared simultaneously with the earliest accounts of constructing linear perspective. This long search for mechanical drawing approaches illustrates a connection between art and technology. My interests and artistic practice is positioned between this complex relationship of technology, the machine and nature.

Over the course of the last few years I have been incorporating devices in the process of making drawings. In a time of digitization of the work process, one can easily forget the freedom and fun of play. By creating new drawing tools, I provide an opportunity to break free from standards in design. In turn this furnishes me with the freedom of movement and access to the outdoors, leaving the confines of the traditional studio space behind.

Ultimately the landscape becomes a part of the process establishing a direct link to the concern for human conduct and natures role I affecting that conduct. One can argue that the natural epistemology of human activities can be conditioned by nature. This work provides an objective lesson in the way nature and the artist can shape our understanding of an experience and place. The process of making these drawing confronts ideas regarding time, space and perception, all impacted by the relationship between the body and nature.

The act of producing these drawings serves as a function for the human body to measure the landscape and systematically construct works of art. The work illustrates the body’s ability to operate various systems, continually tracing its relationship to the land, coexisting as both a unit of measurement and a map, a recorder of space and time. Given the long history of artists who have created work about nature and their environment, part of my artistic practice is simply to finding new ways to respond to nature today.