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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Shy Guy”Shy Guy

    Repurposed Wood Products Automotive Finish 12" h x 11"w x 4"w

Ann Baer

  • Art
  • Design
I am an Art Professional I am a Design Professional

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artist bio

Raised in a middle class home in Appleton, Wisconsin, Ann Baer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from Cardinal Stritch University. In 2000, she earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is also involved in numerous continuing education classes.

Prior to serving 20 years as an Art Specialist with Milwaukee Public Schools, Ann worked for 17 years as a graphic designer. During those combined years she honed her skills as a fine artist. She created and exhibited her own art work in galleries, art fairs, and store fronts. Now retired she is able to work full-time as an artist.

Volunteer work includes facilitating a weekly art class for people living with memory loss through the Alzheimer’s Association and fund raising for Memories in the Making. You will also find her volunteering at her 3 grandson’s elementary schools.

Ann works in several mediums but her focus in the past years has been sculpture. These bright, colorful totems are constructed of repurposed household items found at resale shops, in dumpsters, and rummage sales. She also paints in acrylic, and watercolor crayon, and works with mixed media.

Exhibiting throughout the state, her work is included in numerous private and corporate collections.

artist statement

I am a collector of old, broken, and discarded wood products, plus a few other things that I may, someday, (or not) use in an art project. I dumpster dive, frequent Goodwill, scrounge from friends and scour the streets on garbage days.

The studio is packed with wood bowls, knife racks, chair legs and miscellaneous ephemera. Much of it still seems usable, but out of date, so it is cast away. It still has character, and it isn’t plastic. These interesting, sometimes unattractive objects and dismantled parts find new relevance in my hands.

I arrange these treasures again and again to get the right configuration. I take reference photos so I can remember how to put them back together as I try different shapes. It may take weeks as I tweak the layout.

Each selected part is individually sanded and repaired before assembly begins. The pieces are measured, drilled, pegged and glued for a secure bond. Then the components are puttied, sanded again, and spray painted with a high gloss automotive finish.

While I am creating these totems I think about titles and meanings. Sometimes I have a concept to begin with and other times it evolves as the pieces fall into place. All the themes have meaning to me in the end and relate to my ideals, beliefs, philosophy, and personal stories.

In 50 years of making art I have never had so much fun creating. It is a huge challenge; and the learning curve is steep. It’s all about mastery and each grouping of found objects brings new problems to solve and perhaps, a tiny contribution to saving the earth.