"Mark Messersmith’s paintings read like epic novels, full of richly conceived characters and vividly described vignettes that unite into grand and sweeping narratives. His subjects are invariably focused on the interplay between fragile nature and careless humankind, played out in the sizzling scrublands and swampy backwaters of the Florida Panhandle, just beyond civilization’s reach. Messersmith’s mastery of painting is underscored in these works, which are laden with high-keyed color, dizzying perspectives, careening imagery, and virtuoso light effects. They are also clearly tied to the history of painting, with references that range from Late Medievalism to nineteenth century Romanticism to contemporary Outsider art. Part P.T. Barnum and part Walt Whitman—and just as quintessentially American—Messersmith offers the engaged viewer a cornucopia of visual delights and a veritable banquet of savory food for thought." —Peter Baldaia, Huntsville Museum of Art
Valley House Gallery is pleased to present their fourth solo exhibition for Mark Messersmith, including ten paintings that were featured in the exhibition "Precipice" at the Amarillo Museum of Art. Messersmith earned an MFA from Indiana University in 1980, and was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting in 2006. Among the museums that have collected his works are the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, Musée du Haut-de-Cagnes, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Tyler Museum of Art. His work was recently included in the exhibition "A Telling Instinct: John James Audubon & Contemporary Art" at the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina. He recently retired from Florida State University in Tallahassee where he was a Professor of Art for 35 years. A comprehensive catalogue will be available.
Preview the exhibition online at https://www.valleyhouse.com/
The exhibition will be on view at Valley House Gallery from January 23 through February 27, Monday through Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Masks required.
Image: Mark Messersmith, "The Weight of Everything," 2019, oil on canvas, carved wooden pediment, and mixed media predella, 87 x 62 inches