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Chris Bathgate (Christopher M Bathgate) is a self-taught machinist sculptor and machine builder born in Baltimore, Maryland. Since 2001, he has been building, modifying and using a variety of metalworking tools and machinery. He has assembled an elaborate machine shop of repurposed and homemade robotic and manual machine tools, along with a multitude of other unique equipment and inventions.
Bathgate’s body of work consists of intricately machined metal sculptures that are often accompanied by detailed schematic blueprints. This combination of sculpture and schematic tells the story of the evolution of each piece as an entirely engineered artifact. His works illustrate that creativity alone does not drive human imagination, but that the need to solve and overcome problems is also a driver of inspiration. His pieces exemplify a method in which the restraints inherent to his process are used as a catalyst for his sculptural ideas, rather than serving as barriers or limitations for them. He designs his sculptures 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. He often plays on ideas of implied utility and ambiguous, yet intentional design; and revels in the psychological mystique that can be created when one strips away the information about an objects function. 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.
Bathgate has been featured in American Craft Magazine, Make Magazine, the Russian edition of Popular Mechanics, Sculptures Pacific, and Best of American Sculpture Volume II. He was awarded grants in 2007 and 2011 from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation. He has also earned recognition in his own hometown, having received the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize in 2014, a Baltimore “B” grant in 2011, and a Creative Baltimore grant in 2008. Bathgate’s works have been exhibited in a variety of museums and galleries across the United States, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the American Craftsmanship Museum, and the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum. Bathgate’s sculptures are held in numerous private collections throughout the United States and abroad.
Grants & Awards
- 2014 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize
- 2011 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant
- 2011 Baltimore B grant
- 2008 Creative Baltimore Grant
- 2007 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant
- 2007 Creative Baltimore Grant
- 2007 Trawick Prize of Bethesda (semi-finalist)
- Bathgate, Chris. "About the artist".