Materials and Methods
Bauermeister has worked in a variety of media. Her materials include natural and found or manufactured objects, such as glass lenses and prisms, as well as forms she creates. Her calligraphic ink drawings, words, and text fragments are often minutely rendered. Her larger, more complex works such as My Contribution to Light Art is Dead, Serious Art (on view in this exhibition), combine aspects of painting, sculpture, drawing, and assemblage in a dazzling visual display.
Bauermeister’s lens boxes are the signature works of this unique artist. Her early boxes were shown in a horizontal orientation on pedestals and were meant to be viewed from above. Even after she began to make boxes that were shown upright as three-dimensional pictures on the wall, she worked on them with the box (made by a carpenter) lying before her on a table. She created the “floor” of the box first, combining objects, texts, and drawings. A sheet of glass was then inserted above the base composition and was fitted into grooves on the inside of the box. This became the transparent floor for the next pictorial layer. Further layers could then be added, with a final glass viewing window.
Image: Mary Bauermeister working on a lens box. Image: Kerstin Skrobanek Archive.