Beyond the Lost Garden
Fri, Sep 1, 2023 - Sun, Oct 29, 2023
2901 E Park Ave Unit 2800 Tallahassee, FL
Venvi Art Gallery is pleased to present Beyond the Lost Garden, Mark Messersmith’s fourth solo exhibition with our gallery. Mark Messersmith creates stunningly beautiful and vibrant paintings depicting North Florida’s flora and fauna. Through intricate layering of subject matter, Messersmith gives viewers a seemingly endless scenery to explore the dense, tangled, and fragile natural world, as it and its inhabitants desperately try to survive.
The enchanting paintings not only captivate the viewer but also address difficult, often dark themes about humanity. In these paintings, Messersmith uses brilliant complementary colors that make the ecosystem and its inhabitants seem as though they are glowing. Additionally, he paints with such movement that it doesn’t take much to imagine the creatures running or flying out of the decorative frames and into the gallery. It is in this manner that he draws the viewer in, until they realize the interwoven beauty and tragedy within each scene. Messersmith explains how, “each painting develops a narrative that suggests the eternal in its scope, as in the possibility you are witnessing the ruin of mankind”.
With electrifying compositions mediating the beauty, chaos, and tragedy that exists in our modern environments while technological advancements have made human life more convenient and comfortable. Messersmith depicts how the natural landscape and its inhabitants are too often violated and left to deal with the consequences we created for them and in return, for ourselves as well. He expands by stating how “[his] work is really about our relationship to all other living creatures at this precarious moment, a place midway between hope and despair”.
The flora and fauna of Florida fill his compositions, from magnolia trees and alligators to luna moths and black bears. His paintings are inspired by these creatures, their habitats, and the difficulties they encounter merely trying to survive in our anthropocentric world. Messersmith also pulls inspiration from 19th-century American artists such as Martin Johnson Heade, George Inness, and James Audubon - who came to Florida after the Civil War and painted romanticized versions of the landscape.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Messersmith has been a longtime resident of Tallahassee. Throughout his extensive and distinguished career, his work has found homes in many permanent museum collections and earned him numerous awards. He is currently having a solo exhibition of 14 large paintings at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio from July 23 to September 24, 2023. The show is titled, Allegory: The Illuminated Landscapes of Mark Messersmith.
Beyond the Lost Garden will be on view in the gallery from September 1st, 2023 until October 27th, 2023.
Venvi Art Gallery is located at 2901 East Park Avenue Tallahassee FL.