Ron Baron has shown his work nationally and internationally since 1989 and completed over 25 public art projects throughout the United States. His public art is site-specific and develops around themes that have a strong interrelationship with the local community, culture and history. Many of Baron’s sculptures are composed of an amalgamation of artifacts and detritus that are layered and stacked to create forms that suggest vessels, monoliths, trophies, archeological digs and geological strata.
Born in Springfield, MA and raised in the suburb Longmeadow Baron quit high school at 16 and took a continuing education ceramics class at Baypath Junior College where he met his instructor the salt glaze potter David Halsey. Baron began to work with Halsey on off for several years at the Leverett Arts and Crafts Center, assisting with his work and in the evenings and weekends creating his own. Passionate about salt glaze ceramics Baron went on to study with Don Reitz at the University of Wisconsin in Madison receiving a B.A. in Art. In 1985 Baron pursued his MFA in Ceramics and Sculpture at the University of California, Davis studying with the ceramics legend Robert Arneson. While in grad school Baron began to work with accumulations of found ceramic bric-a-brac that he incorporated into his ceramic sculptures. This work was received with much acclaim in the Bay Area.
After graduate school in 1988 Baron moved to Brooklyn New York and gained recognition for his “STAX”, a series of vessel like sculptures created from stacked dishes. In 1991 he was awarded an eight-month Lila Wallace Giverny Artist Residency Grant and lived and worked at the Monet Museum and homestead in France. While in residence he toured Europe and North Africa collecting objects that were used in his assemblages. In 1992 he received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in Sculpture and in 1997 was awarded a New York Foundation in the Arts grant in Sculpture. Baron has been an artist in residence at Yaddo in upstate New York ten times beginning in 1993 and most recently in 2015 when he was awarded the Louise Bourgeois Endowed Residency. Baron has twice received a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 1989 and 2015.
From 2000 - 2013, Baron focused his major efforts on creating large-scale works for public spaces. He has completed more then 20 Public Art projects and site-specific installations. Some of his most prominent works are commissions with the MTA and Long Island Railroad in Hempstead, NY, Indianapolis International Airport, Board of Education NYC, Depart of Cultural Affairs NYC, Alaska International Airport, University of Oregon: Autzen Stadium, the Portland Regional Arts Council and the Department of Cultural Affairs San Jose, CA.
In 2013, in the aftermath of a family tragedy Baron returned to working with clay, creating a body of work that explored grief and loss. He wrote, “legend has it that in the 1920s Ernest Hemingway made a wager at lunch with several colleagues that he could write a short story in just six words. He scribbled on a napkin, “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” This laconic story perfectly portrays the sentiment and underlying narrative of my current body of work. Each artwork is an offering that venerates a life lost. The artwork dwells in the pain of absence, where absence is present and creates a void filled with longing and memory.”
Baron's recent series titled Shattered Vase Theory are bricolage vessels created from an aggregate of repurposed objects that reflect humanity and our moment in history. A Cubist-like skin of shards covers the form, creating a fragmented amalgam of diverse peoples, time periods and cultures. A second series of vessels, thrown on the potter’s wheel combined with hand-built sculptural elements explore his processing of personal pain and grief. Each piece is a volumetric canvas; a receptacle where he investigates a spectrum of emotive content. This work stems from Baron's lifelong love for clay and improvisational approach to art making.
Baron has won numerous awards including, New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Pollock-Krasner, Yaddo Endowed Residency and a Lila Wallace Endowed Residency at the Monet Museum in Giverny, France. His work has been included in a variety of books, periodicals and websites such as the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, ArtCritical, HyperAllergic, Brooklyn Rail, MTA Arts for Transit, Confrontational Ceramics and Hands in Clay. He currently lives in Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY and teaches Sculpture and Ceramics at the School of Visual Arts, NYC.