Born in California, Mowry Baden is recognized as one of the most influential sculptors of his generation in Canada and the United States. A pioneer of American body art, he began making interactive sculptures in 1965 that were at the crossroads of psychology, architecture and art. His experimental practice is defined by a sustained interest in phenomenology and science, and is anchored in the exploration of human perception. Baden moved to Canada in 1971. During this period, his sculptures, which referenced architecture and landscape, relied on viewers’ physical interaction with the work. Central to his practice are ideas around neuromuscular memory, tactile perception, and kinesthesia, which seek to decentralize vision as the most dominant of our senses. During the 1980s, his work became more complex through the inclusion of narrative and a historical and cultural iconography that underlined his preoccupation with the social role of art. For over fifty years, Baden’s work, which incorporates harnesses, architectural rooms, pathways, “machines”, etc., has asserted the artist’s desire to include the body, performance, physical effort and movement at the centre of cognitive experience.

Portait of Mowry Baden.
Photo: courtesy of the artist