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BIOGRAPHY - Ben Bauer B. 1980

Ben Bauer’s deep roots in the landscape of forests and high plains in the upper midwest are the source of his commitment to “recording a natural history” in his paintings. Like many people who have witnessed the continuing depletion of open land in once-pristine regions, Bauer is acutely aware of how quickly ecosystems can be damaged or destroyed; and how easily that loss can be justified under the auspices of economic development.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1980, Bauer grew up in a family that introduced him to the pleasures of outdoor living, whether enjoying a summer weekend in the countryside or participating in annual duck-hunting expeditions. The sense of camaraderie among the men in his family as they tramped through river valleys and wetlands provided the younger boys, including Bauer, with both an education in the natural world and a personal awareness of the cycles of each season. Seen from this intimate perspective, the shift from spring to summer reveals a gradual unfolding, just as the tonal shifts from white to grey and brown in a winter landscape can only be understood when studied over time.

This sincere connection to the natural world ultimately led the young Bauer to turn his fondness for cartooning on his school notebooks to focus on drawing wildlife scenes instead. As he noted in a recent interview, “I’ve always had a pencil in my hand since fourth grade.” By eighth grade, he discovered wildlife painters and printmakers, such as David Maass, who specialized in waterfowl imagery; and soon thereafter, Bauer created his first entry for the Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp competition. The federally sponsored Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Contest (the “Duck Stamp”) was initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 as a source of funding for the conservation of wetlands and upland habitats throughout the US. Since that time, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System has been able to conserve over five million acres of land. In Minnesota, this program is complemented by the Department of Natural Resources which sponsors the Junior Duck Stamp competition as well. Although Bauer did not win the competition, he did place first among his age group--no small accomplishment in a field of 1100 student entries.

This early predilection for drawing provided the impetus for Bauer to take “every art course that was offered” in his North St. Paul high school, and ultimately led him to an art major at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, where he majored in painting. Although he was not overly impressed by what was then considered fashionable painting at the University, Bauer was introduced to a variety of technical and intellectual fields that would benefit him as an artist in the future. In addition, two of his professors, Tamara Brantmeier and Charles Lume, were especially instrumental in guiding Bauer to develop his own style.

Not surprisingly, Bauer has continued his art education on the internet. Like many artists, he has discovered art history online and has absorbed the work of artists as divergent as George Inness (1825-94) and the California landscapist, Edgar Payne (1882-1947). Bauer also notes that online sites for connecting with other contemporary artists have been an important source for sharing information and establishing a network of like-minded professionals.

Bauer’s work continues to evolve as he explores the imagery of the landscapes around him. A primary objective remains the preservation of these landscapes, whether it is a prairie restoration or the creation of land stewardship trusts to protect existing farmland from development. Because of this profound awareness of the land, Bauer’s paintings capture a strong sense of place, whether it is early spring along Elmo Creek or the vast horizon of a winter wheat field. Most recently, his oil paintings have also become studies in what he describes as “ever-changing and temperamental oil paint.” These works are further explorations in the nature of his medium, as well as reflections of the transitory qualities of seasonal cycles.

Janet Whitmore, Ph.D.

 

Browse by Artist
AVAILABLE WORKS
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Moonlit Scene at Cushing
Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Hugo Farmstead at 1 am
Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Early Autumn Soybeans
Oil on panel
30 x 48 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Door County Wheat and Weather
Oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Snow in Mondovi, Study
Oil on canvas-panel
9 x 12 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
County Road 4 Farmstead
Oil on canvas-panel
30 x 40 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Texas Spring
Oil on canvas-panel
24 x 30 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Early Morning Fog Burn, Lake Elmo Farm
Oil on canvas-panel
30 x 40 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Grant Township Farm by Moonlight
Oil on canvas-panel
20 x 26 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Moments After Day Break, Lowry, MN
Oil on canvas-panel
30 x 40 inches
Signed
Sold Works
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Approaching 0 Degrees, Lake Elmo Farm
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 48 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Soft Night at Hoffman Hills
Oil on canvas on board
8 x 10 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
St. Croix Valley Sunset
Oil on canvas on board
29 x 39 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Sauk Rapids Farm by Moonlight
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Late Summer Soybeans - Ellsworth, WI
Oil on panel
32 x 35 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
September Fields, Lowry, MN
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Simply Calm - Grant Farm by Moonlight
Oil on canvas on board
32 x 35 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Buffalo County, WI., Night Lights
Oil on canvas on board
29 x 37 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
3 am, Big Marine Farm
Oil on canvas on board
32 x 35 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Lake Thompson, Rhinelander, WI
Oil on canvas on board
24 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Hill Country Moonrise: Blue Bonnets & Indian Paintbrush
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Bonfire Time - Baileys Harbor, Door County, WI
Oil on canvas on board
28 x 34 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Last Light with Moonrise over Spring Valley, WI
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Lowry Farm, Moonrise
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 40 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Mondovi Farm by Moonlight
Oil on canvas
30 x 50 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Fields of Mondovi, Study
Oil on panel
8 x 10 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Subtle at Baileys Harbor
Oil on canvas on board
9 x 12 inches
Signed and dated 2012
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
May Storm Over Glacier Lake, MN
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 34 inches
Signed and dated 2013
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Off County Road 12
Oil on canvas on board
20 x 22 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Lake Elmo Farm by Moonlight
Oil on canvas on board
32 x 35 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Red Rock Moonrise
Oil on canvas-panel
28 x 26 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Spring Ignition
Oil on canvas-panel
30 x 34 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Early Spring Eve, South Dakota
Oil on canvas on board
29 x 32 inches
Signed and dated 2012
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Montana, Early Spring
Oil on canvas on board
24 x 26 inches
Signed and dated '12
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
St. Croix Valley Barn
Oil on canvas on board
25 x 30 inches
Signed and dated 2012
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Eagan at Pre-Dusk
Oil on canvas
20 x 26 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Signs of Life
Oil on canvas on board
10 x 25 inches
Signed twice
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Soft in Wilernie
Oil on canvas on board
19 x 21 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Spring Moonrise in South Dakota
Oil on canvas on board
24 x 29 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Another Perfect End
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Another Perfect End (Study)
Oil on canvas on board
6 x 8 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Wilernie Moonrise
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Shoreline at White Bear Lake at Dawn
Oil on canvas on board
30 x 34 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Starbuck Moonrise
Oil on canvas
36 x 40 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Dusk's Prelude to Evening with Moon
Oil on canvas on board
18 x 19 inches
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Elmo Hangers - Lake Elmo, MN
Oil on canvas on board
18 x 19 inches
Signed; also signed and titled on the reverse
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Rawleys Bay - Baileys Harbor, WI
Oil on canvas on board
16 x 18 inches
Signed; also signed, and titled on the reverse
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
The Beauty in Winter's Grays
Oil on canvas on board
18 x 19 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
27 Below
Oil on canvas on board
28 x 32 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Elmo Creek Awakens
Oil on canvas on board
22 x 24 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Lake Mary Barn
Oil on canvas
20 x 20 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Waxing Gibbous at Pre-Dusk
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
Crusted Snow and Old Fence Posts
Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches
Signed
Ben Bauer
B. 1980
St. Croix Valley View
Oil on canvas on board
16 x 18 inches
Signed