Arthur Bauman enjoys making mobiles and creates each piece as a unique kinetic mobile sculpture, hand-made of metal. Most are painted with artists' acrylics, but some are hammered aluminum, bronze and brass. In beginning a new abstract mobile, he often simply forms a first shape, decides what next shape might both complement it and that opens the way for a third, and continues in that way until he finds the mobile balanced and complete. This involves a logic internal to the mobile that dictates the limits both to its shapes and to its structure. He finds this intriguing.
Bauman began making mobiles in 1968 in Amman, Jordan, while stationed at the U.S. Embassy. He saw two films on Alexander Calder which the State Department had sent around to the more isolated diplomatic posts and he was entranced. So in his leisure time he took up making mobiles, at first with whatever materials were at hand: clothes hanger wire, tin can tops, and even yarn left over from his wife's rug-making. Then, seriously hooked, he bought some tools, aluminum sheet and spring steel wire. He continued to make mobiles at posts to which he was assigned, and gave three exhibits abroad -- in Jordan, Morocco and Belgium. In 1972, while on leave in the United States, he gave an exhibit in Fort Myers, Florida, and the owner of a gallery on nearby Sanibel Island offered to show his work. Later, while still in the Foreign Service, he gave exhibits in Germany and at the National Museum Art Gallery in Singapore.
Eventually, in 1981, he left the Foreign Service to work full time on mobiles, and has since given half a dozen exhibits in this country. His work is currently shown in several galleries, including the Left Bank Galleries in Wellfleet and Orleans on Cape Cod, where the largest and most representative selection of hiw work is on exhibit. Anyone who makes mobiles owes a huge debt to Alexander Calder, who after all invented the art form. But Bauman soon developed his own distinctive style and artistic vocabulary. He is especially interested in structure and in creating a piece that is well balanced esthetically from whatever angle you see it -- with its three-dimensionality. And when you watch a mobile move in an air current, as it shifts and revolves, you add the fourth dimension, time. As with music and dance, it's a performance.