Pat Adam and Jim Maher at the unveiling of the bronze of her father, Governor George T. Mickelson, in the rotunda of the South Dakota State Capitol, June 2015.
The language of the heart is brought to light in the work of sculptor James Michael Maher. In his bronzes, the human spirit resonates with a sensitivity and veracity rarely seen in our time. Through a masterful use of form, expression, and gesture, his art speaks directly to the viewer and strikes a chord that all may understand.
Maher’s ability to express universal truths of human emotion through his sculpture is built upon a profound knowledge of the human form and a painstaking dedication to excellence. His work is a powerful declaration of the pre-eminent role of the human figure in art.
Jim Maher was born to a ranching family near Pierre, South Dakota. He obtained degrees in Animal Science and Equine Physiology from Colorado State University and pursued a career in the Quarter Horse breeding business for a time. A life-long avocation became his vocation in 1989 when he cast his first bronze sculpture. Early in his career, Jim was blessed with the opportunity to work with a very accomplished artist, Dale Claude Lamphere, where he learned a great deal, from design and composition, to techniques of bronze sculpture production. On obtaining his first commission for a large-scale work in 1994, Jim established his own studio, where he has created over 30 life-size or larger sculptures and a multitude of smaller works. The human figure has been the focus of his work with a special interest in the portrait.
Major works include sculptures for the Trail of Governors project in Pierre, South Dakota, the City of Presidents in Rapid City, South Dakota Sacred Heart Monastery and Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota, SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Pierre, South Dakota, D.C. Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery, Spearfish, South Dakota, and Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri.