Architecture and Anthropormorphism: Sculptures by Rory Baron

by Anna Mikhailovskaia

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Owl by Rory Baron; all photos by Anna Mikhailovskaia

Rory Baron‘s sculptural wall pieces occupy his studio in 17-17 Troutman in a well-balanced grouping. The mostly white on white sculptures have a quiet and meditative quality that seems to contradict their composition, which is largely derived from construction material. Baron puts symmetry, pattern, and repetition to use to create objects that borrow from the worlds of architecture and anthropomorphic headdresses.  

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Artist Rory Baron in his studio

Growing up in Ohio, Baron photographed and documented many structures and environments emblematic of typical American suburbs, particularly his home town of Elyria. As such, beyond the formal qualities of Baron’s works lies subtle but apparent subject matter that conveys a sense of loss or nostalgia that suburban landscapes communicate. Malls, parking lots, highways, McMansions, all things that may be considered “spiritually dead” have been revived as rich subject matter.

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Works by Rory Baron

A mingling of architectural geometry and natural elements is often at play in Baron’s works such as in Home Owner, where a pine cone sits on top of the central form. The pine cone not only adds a touch of humor to the work, but also is rich in symbolism and can be found in many visual histories of past civilizations such as the Sumerians where it expressed eternal life. An expansive, aura-like structure also provides a backdrop for several of his works. The lines created by Baron’s careful carpentry allow for the eye to travel in an outward direction.

imageHome Owner by Rory Baron (close-up shown on right)

In repurposing materials and motifs, Baron has invented his own process. What began as a carefully and meticulously constructed form often appears as deceptively simple. The direct visual impact that such simplicity of form delivers is apparent in his works. Without much fuss and distraction, his sculptures exhibit a quiet and contemplative approach to art making.

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Work by Rory Baron

Many of Baron’s works contain references to house siding, shingles, and peeling paint chips. For a recent series, Baron hacked a standard ceiling tile system that can be purchased at any hardware store. The unexpected result of such exoteric materials, however, was something derivative of Dogon Kanaga masks or Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square.

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Works by Rory Baron

Visitors to Baron’s studio will feel the rich array of his materialist sensibility and his carefully crafted approach to his work. There, we find an inquisitive mind at work sifting through environments and histories to create something entirely new.

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(Above and below) Works by Rory Baron

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(Above and below) Works by Rory Baron

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Rory Baron’s studio, located at 17-17 Troutman #251, will be open during Bushwick Open Studios 2014 Saturday and Sunday, May 31—June 1, 12—7PM

Anna Mikhailovskaia is an artist based in Brooklyn