The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Christopher Bathgate

Added to museum 12/6/12

Creating Other Worldly Visions in Metal with Traditional and Modern Methods

Christopher Bathgate—Artist in metal (Click on photo to view larger image.)

Introduction

There is no arguing the fact that Christopher Bathgate is an artist in metal. The sole purpose of his work is to be pleasing to the eye. But the road to creating pleasing shapes and colors in metal is not an easy one. He has spent years teaching himself the processes of metalworking in order to be able to bring his visions to reality. This included learning basic metalworking and then taking it to the most advanced levels, even learning G-code and designing and building his own computer-controlled machine tools. The purpose of making and using CNC tools was not so much as a way to save labor, as it actually increased the number of things he had to learn about and experiment with, but he felt it was the logical progression to take his work to new levels. CNC was not pursued for its ability to duplicate thousands of parts quickly and perfectly as it would be in a production environment, as his works are one-of-a-kind with only a few identical parts.  He sees CNC as merely another tool—no better or worse than any other—to achieve a particular result allowing him to expand the landscape of his creativity.

Chris has put together some interesting thoughts on the use of CNC in the world of craftsmanship. As one who has learned and used just about every aspect of hand, manual and computer controlled metalworking tools, you will find his perspective enlightening. Much as oil painters mocked the work of early photographers as not being “real art” because no paint brushes were involved, the place of computers in art and machining is now also in question in their relationship to the concept of craftsmanship. Chris, however, considers CNC just another color in his pallet, no better or worse than the others. If you find this interesting, CLICK HERE to read what he has to say.

An example of Chris Bathgate's work, this one is called BC 443621141281783. Each of his pieces is numbered rather than named. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

The following words are reproduced from Chistopher’s own web site at www.chrisbathgate.com. We have reproduced images of some of his work on this site. If you like what you see, even more can be found on his site.

About the Artist

Chris Bathgate is a self-taught machinist sculptor who was born in 1980 in Baltimore Maryland. He still currently works and resides in Baltimore and has spent more than a decade learning how to build and use a variety of metal working tools and machinery. He has assembled an elaborate machine shop of repurposed and home made robotic and manual machine tools, along with a multitude of other equipment and inventions in the basement studio of his Baltimore home.

His body of work is a collection of intricately machined metal sculptures that represent the combination of his unique metalworking style with a traditional approach to sculpture. By combining the math and logistics used in performing the complex tasks of modern machine work with a more emotive and aesthetic problem-solving ethic, Bathgate’s work shows that it is not creativity alone that drives human imagination, but also the need to solve and overcome problems that lead to inspiration. Be it through the necessity of his process or arbitrary guidelines set by the artist himself, each work becomes a creative response to a series of mathematical and subjective visual parameters. The result is a precise and other worldly art object that exudes a creative logic all its own.

Some of Chris’s more notable accomplishments include being featured in Make Magazine, Popular Mechanics magazine in Russia, Sculptures Pacific magazine and Best of American Sculpture Volume II. He was twice awarded grants from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, Once in 2007 and most recently in 2011. He has also earned recognition in his own hometown having received a creative Baltimore grant in 2008, and a Baltimore “B” grant in 2011. His works have been exhibited in a variety of museum and galleries across the US. Including the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum. They are held in numerous private collections through out the US and abroad.

Christopher at work in his shop. He has built some of his own shop tools and modified others. (Click on photo to view larger image.)

About his Work

In contrast to many of his contemporaries, Chris Bathgate's use of metal is neither structural nor illusionistic. It does not refuse to transform the medium, and it does not play on the medium's opposites, e.g. lightness from metal's weight, or organic forms from its rigidity.

Bathgate's process most closely resembles that of a machine builder or engineer. Over the years, he has become increasingly involved in using mathematical techniques. This has allowed him to achieve the high degree of precision necessary for assembling such intricate works (these sculptures are not cast). The result is indeed a transformation—the pieces fit together in such a way that they cease to appear man-made, and yet in spite of this lack of bumpiness or personal touch emanate a presence that is unmistakable and engaging.

Bathgate's entities are like instances of a foreign intelligence. Being uninhibited by pretensions to flesh, these sculptures call up a type of 'creature feeling' reflecting their intellectual (as opposed to emotional) humanism.

According to Bathgate, every sculpture is an experiment in response to an abstract as opposed to a pragmatic problem—it does not work towards a presumed result. From the point of view of the process, a finished work is not an end in itself, but a place that one goes to.

 

Chris with a large, multi-part creation known as ML622254434732323. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Chris has contributed this sculpture to the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA, where our visitors can see his work in person. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

SELECTED HONORS & AWARDS

2011

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant Recipient

Baker Artist B Grant Recipient

2008

Creative Baltimore Fund Individual Artist Grant Recipient

2007-2008

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant Recipient

2004

Best in Show Award, Projekt30 Online Gallery

1999

Maryland Institute College of Art, Merit Scholar Grant

1998

Bernard Fall Art Scholarship Award

NFAA/Arts Recognition and Talent Search, Honorable Mention

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2011

Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago, IL

SOFA NY, Packer Schopf Gallery, New York, NY

2010

 New Works, Viridian Artist Inc., New York, NY

Energy Fields, The American Center for Physics, College Park, MD

Chris Bathgate at 1275, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington DC

 

SELECTED GROUP SHOWS

2012

Off the Wall, The Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum, Bethesda, MD

SOFA Chicago, Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago IL

Baker Artist Awards Exhibition, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD

Heavy Metal/Precious Metal, GVG Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM

Back to the Future, TAMIU, Laredo, TX

2011

Meyers East, Santa Fe, NM

Black Rock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD

New Art Center, New York, NY

Art Dimensions, Baltimore, MD

2009

Viridian Artists Inc., New York, NY

Gallery Imperato, Baltimore, MD

2008

Viridian Artist Inc., New York, NY

Device Gallery, San Diego, CA

Lerner Corporation Sculpture Show, McLean, VA

Gallery Imperato, Baltimore, MD

32nd Symphony Decorators Show House, Baltimore, MD

Gallery 10 Sculpture invitational, Gallery10, Washington, DC

2007

Craven Arts Council and Gallery, New Bern, NC

Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, MD

Man Made, Gallery Imperato, Baltimore, MD

2006

Mixed Media, Columbia Art Center, Columbia, MD

Micro Monumental, Xavier Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Washington Square, Washington, DC

Micro Monumental, Flashpoint Gallery, Washington, DC

2005

2 Much, Current Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Artscape Festival, Catonsville Community College Gallery, Baltimore, MD

2004

Loose Cannon, RKL Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Primary Construction, RKL Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

PRESS

2011

"Tools of Artistry," Make Magazine, Volume 25

International Contemporary Artist, Volume III

2010

Best of American Sculpture Artists, Volume II

"The Other Lobbyist," Where Washington, September

"Chris Bathgate's Totems of the Mechanical Age," Gallery & Studio, February/March

2009

"Sense and Sensibility Christopher Bathgate," Popular Mechanics (Russia), May

"Obsessed with Patterns of Obsession," Radar Redux, April

"Innovation and Determination at the Gallery Imperato," Examiner, April

2008

"Acorn Identity," City Paper, August

"Featured Artist: Chris Bathgate," Urbanite, August

"Two Summer Group Shows Worth Seeing Here in Baltimore," Baltimore Art Examiner, August

2007

"Critic’s Choice: MAN-MADE," City Paper, January

"The Steely-eyed Vision of Imperato," Carroll County Times, February

"Machine Biology," City Paper, March

"Sculptures Make Metallic Art Both Hot and Cool," Prince George's Sentinel, June

"Sculptures Test Their Metal," Laurel Leader, August

 

Here are several examples of Chris Bathgate's work:

(Click any phototo view a larger image.)

Works

A partial selection of some of Christopher Bathgate's works of  art. (Click on any small image to enlarge.)

ML622254434732323

SO 835533333216612453

Two more views of previous work

Sp683343447521

FL633322251552

Gd312235541

SL622212322422

NC963312223714523614 (left)

BG33442221592566

3822722 (Right)

DC355554254645

FM655513312213

K442214313124

NT 554416312254

PN635512223333

RN 753362224531143

SC 415522332

SH633374451562293724

 

Mn783485521265683

ST 732232835563624434

   

TI 524422363

WR 622211515422322

   

 

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CAD Drawings

CAD artwork is part of the planning stages, but the finished drawings become artistic pieces themselves. Clicking on these small images will enlarge the drawing to a 2000 pixel width or height.

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The Process

Shown here are a number of photos depicting the setups and processes employed to create the various pieces. (Click on any photo to view a larger image.)

   

   

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Videos of work in progress

Click on the links below to view various machining operations taking place to make the parts:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150326306597395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150402142837395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150488216022395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150543338772395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150747218177395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150938487452395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150939335897395

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150957292292395

Below is a link to a Facebook page with many photos and videos of work in progress:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.323748095615.193018.316913355615&type=1

To see more of Christopher's work, visit his gallery web site at www.chrisbathgate.com .

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New Submissions Welcomed

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