Baran Mickle

Bill Baran Mickle Metalsmith 98110

Grand Themes

"Along the Way" ©1995 Wall Relief 76 x 72 x 6 inches Smithed brass, copper, nickel silver, found objects patina and paint. Mounted on plywood. A complex iconography depicting everyday life, work life, vacation and retirement, as well as personal sanctuary (center). CemMed Center Building, Cincinnati, OH
The overarching theme of this sculpture is to address the incoming Freshman student and reflect on her next four-year journey. This interim phase of life consists of her first time away from home for a sustained period; her navigation through having roommates and fellow students from her own class and several years ahead; her new-found comradery with people on similar journey and filtering what her strengths, weaknesses, and personal desires are.
Smithed Brass, copper and nickel silver over cast concrete base. 7.5 ft tall, 7ft diameter.
Endlless Colum: Coffee Materials: Brass. Dimensions: 52 x 12 x 12 inches
Techniques: Smithing, forming and fabrication of sheet brass. Letter punching. This sculpture is a “fin de cicle” artwork for the 20th century. Words punched into the surface of coffee thermos: “Caution: Contents under extreme pressure.” The base uses a repeating form referencing Constantin Brancusi’s “Endless Columns” which were groundbreaking art forms beginning in 1918. However, my updated version compresses the column forms under “pressure” of the end of the 20th century. The Thermos form on top refers to mid-century American coffee and the need for ever more and stronger coffee. It also symbolizes the ever-increasing social-political-ethical-environmental-religious conflicts at the end of the century, thus needing the restraints and caution warnings.

American Diet 1

American Diet I. ca. 2002. 35 x 21 x 16 inches. Brass, copper, nickel-silver, wood, newsprint.
American Diet
Iconography: These sculptures are “TV Trays” I re-created from my childhood. Both are reflections on the American Diet and Food culture. “Diet I” provides empty “Take Out” food containers which list the way too many ingredients of the contents, the TV Remote, all on top of “news of the day.” “Diet II” is about the popular diets Americans are on and on and on. The table setting sits atop a newspaper article concerning the Supreme Court.

American Diet 2

American Diet II. 2002. 37 x 24 x 18 inches. Brass, copper, wood, newsprint.
Bill Baran Mickle Metalsmith 98110
2015. 30" x 24.5" x 2.5". Brass, copper, and maple frame
Bill Baran Mickle Metalsmith 98110
This relief is about Metamorphosis of the planet, of humans and culture. Iconography: The plant is the Ziziphus Sonia-Christi, the thorn bush that was believed to be the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ. The thorns seem menacing, yet the flowers are beautiful, the fruit -Levant- edible, and which has antioxidant and antipyretic effects as well as sedative and sleepiness effects. Using the fingers that transition into caterpillars, into pupae, and ultimately to butterflies, it suggests man in change. Oxford Languages definition of Metamorphosis is a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.

Who Man

2015. 14 x 20 x 2.5 inches Brass, Nickel-silver, copper, patina, dye
Who man, who woman, who are we? We are each a puzzle, and we may spend a lifetime understanding who we are.


1988. Nickel-silver, brass, copper, wood, paint, oxidation, granite-aluminum base.
Made as part of a short river series, this one directed me toward a reflection on relationships. Couples, specifically. Two individuals, no matter how close they may desire to be “one” can never be. There will always be some distance, a river separates them to some degree. The surround are steps. Typically, as tourists do, one can briefly climb just enough to see the beautiful scene, the waterfall, but to truly “see” the relationship, the steps become nearly impossible to mount.

Private Coffee

2001 5.5 x 21 x 16.5 inches.
Formed and fabricated metals, word texture, found objects, shelf paper, aluminum frame. Brass, copper, nickel-silver, patina. Iconography: This sculpture reflects one of the lessons of how well we can know someone. Can we trust them with our secrets? The table shares dialog between two people, and on each side, the conversation can be shredded. [Ref: Political scandal, Lewinsky v. Trip 1979]

The Century Pot

1991. 17.25" x 17" x 19.75" Brass, copper, nickel whistles, marbles, plexiglass, musical box mechanic inside globe. Formed and fabricated, ”word texture,” photo on plexiglass, patinas.
Iconography: The pristine building with steps is a combination of the Jefferson Memorial and the Rotunda of the White House. In the center sits a round clear container of white marbles, representing the 50 states. The lid is a plexiglass with a photo of the charismatic President Ronald Reagan. Leading up to the rotunda and all the way around the floor are “tiles” with the names of the US Secretaries of State over the 1990s. Some tiles are blown up a bit, and peaking down inside, are more tiles that represent the “officials” (undersecretaries, etc.) of those US Departments. The structure that leans heavily against the gleaming Capital buildings is a stylized adobe house representing third-world homes. The surface is covered with “word texture” naming the many many US Policies used (against) toward the North (Native American), Central and South American countries and cultures over the 20th Century. Out of the windows are pieces of fabric, representing the traditional weavings of those cultures. Out of the top of the home instead of a chimney, is an upside-down whistle, a traditional wooden pan flute.
Inside the dome of the capital building is a globe. Sticking out of the back is a turnstile in the shape of the US dollar sign. Turn it and the music box is engaged. Out of the top of the dome is a chimney of sorts, three whistles as used in sports.
The first of a planned series of three on American politics and culture of the 20th Century. “Century Pot” has many elements, but the central focus is commenting on the United States oppressive handling of Central and South American countries and culture. [See history of United Fruit Company for an inkling.]
Detail of stylized South American housing. Entire surface is word-punched with US Policy

Mid-Century Pot

1995. 16.5" x 28" x 20" Brass, copper, found objects, word textures, wood, paint, frames
The second of the Century Series, “Mid Century Pot” concerns itself with the Mid 20th Century American culture. The gleaming street out front of the new house under construction proclaims, “Street of Dreams”. This was the advent of the Levittown, the new concept of suburban housing tracks in New York. The edges of this property are puzzle forms, just add another to the row of houses and keep going.
But the “dream” was not for everyone. The undeveloped parcel next-door cannot be built. Some building materials are there, but the puzzle edges of this parcel are mal-formed, unfitting, cannot be joined. The Dream is denied. This represents those marginalized by race, cultural status, poverty, and prejudice.

Iconography: There are many details and many elements in this sculpture. The amazing dream, the promise of America at mid-century includes toys of the era, a Micky Mouse hat on the floor, a coke bottle chimney. The floorboards as well as the chimney smoke have word texture across them. The floor, in particular, are the newly popular television shows that cropped up after the successful commercialization of the Television, in black and white. Of particular interest may be the “plaid fabric” of the icepack on the house structure. The pattern is made by words and phrases punched into the “fabric” (metal surface). These all pertain to the conflicting themes making their way through the mid-century, such as out of older, dated thinking and practices, and advances in a more modern and diverse age. These conflicts result in the nuclear symbol, which was actually developed in the mid 20th century.

American River and Savior

1988. 19" x 18" x 10.5" Brass, copper, nickel-silver, pastel drawing on paper
As part of a short series on rivers, this one popped up as a symbolic river. It tears apart at the paternal culture too long in power (Corinthian columns) carrying downriver. Where ends is into the pregnant body of a woman, perhaps the only chance of world peace and planetary survival.

High Tides

1986. 10 x 27 x 20 inches. Copper, brass, nickel-silver, wood frame.
Part of my on-again off-again series with an environmental theme. A Minimalist – Cubist view of rough sea overtaking land/civilization. Rising oceans and increased storm systems. Created in 1986, it seems this theme is slowly, and sadly, becoming a global reality.
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