Kristin Bauer at Mesa Contemporary art Museum

Two new installation works, “Cautionary Tale (We Looked)” and “Glass Ceiling” by Tempe-based artist Kristin Bauer, will be installed in Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s bathrooms and on the conference room door (respectively) ahead of the fall 2019 opening reception on Friday, September 13, when the museum reopens with five new exhibitions after summer hiatus.

Consisting of vinyl text on bathroom mirrors, “Cautionary Tale (We Looked)” is a conceptually layered poetic text intervention that confronts the viewer unexpectedly and offers a moment of pause. “Everyone uses the bathroom, but it is oftentimes an overlooked space where more considerations are made for its functionality than aesthetic,” says Tiffany Fairall, Chief Curator of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. “The bathroom mirror positioning creates an optical illusion and guests often run into it. We’ve tried various solutions to make the mirror more visible – a pedestal with a beta fish, plant, vase – why not art?”

Fairall commissioned visual artist Kristin Bauer to address the issue and to bring art into spaces beyond the conventional gallery walls.

Artist Bauer says of the bathroom work, “Meant to attune the senses and call in awareness, as is necessary in a museum, the installation moves deeper in a philosophical sense to pry apart the experiential difference between looking and seeing.” While Bauer points to other layers of reference in this work, she is intent on keeping the piece conceptually flexible for the public to encounter and define on their own terms.

“As an artist who pushes boundaries, Bauer is a perfect fit for this commission, and brings a perspective that is both timely and astute,” said Fairall. “This is especially true with the artwork Bauer created for our small conference room glass door, which reads: ‘From a different vantage point the glass ceiling becomes a door.’ This poignant sentiment will resonate with so many and serves as a positive reminder that barriers often become opportunities.”  

Bauer frequently employs corporate signage and marketing methods, materials and manufacturing techniques in her creative process in a further exploration and disruption of the field of “Manufactured Consent.”

Originally from Minneapolis, MN and now residing in Tempe, AZ, Kristin holds a BFA in Painting from Arizona State University, and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Ottowa University.

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is located at 1 East Main Street, in downtown Mesa, AZ, 85201. Admission is always free.