Art Commissions in the Spotlight


Michael Bauermeister


SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Jefferson City


Lawrence Group

About the Artwork

Our client wanted a commissioned work of art that would tie into the architecture and interior design as well as the surrounding nature of SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Jefferson City. Additionally, SSM Health asked that the piece honors their Catholic heritage while remaining meaningful to the larger public. ARCH Design proposed local artist Michael Bauermeister create an installation of carved wood panels to achieve these goals.

The hand-carved painted panels represent a literal and symbolic focus on the importance of roots — both of the organization’s religious heritage and those of the building’s ground floor diverging out to different areas of care.

The resulting artwork symbolically expresses the notion of individuals extending care into the wider community. For some, the sculpture may symbolize the Biblical Tree of Life, while others may be reminded of the deep, verdant green of Missouri forestry.

In addition, the client wanted to incorporate the inspirational saying: “Like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one.” Bauermeister’s installation underscores this idea, as it consists of several separate panels that span two walls but are unified by a single subject. The many hand-carved marks could symbolize the idea of individuals as part of a larger community.

About the Artist

Drawing inspiration for his art from the very woods surrounding the hospital, artist Michael Bauermeister was an optimal choice for this commission.

A resident of nearby Augusta, Missouri, he uses reclaimed wood from cities and enacts a metaphorical return to nature by using it as the building blocks of his art. Known widely for his hand-carved wood sculptures, Bauermeister demonstrates a connection with nature in each of his creations, making him an optimal choice for this project.

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