Mark Messersmith joined the Florida State University art department’s painting faculty in 1985, and currently teaches drawing and painting. He received his M.F.A. in 1980 from Indiana University. In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Joan Mitchell Award, and has won numerous state, national and international art honors, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He will deliver a gallery talk about his exhibition, Southern Mythology.
The three opening exhibitions will hang through August 23:
1. Southern Mythology by Mark Messersmith explores themes of spirit and struggle within modern Florida’s “natural environment”. Lands and creatures which still manage to survive, though often in small isolated natural habitats and effects of inevitable forced migration, dislocation and destruction of most of Florida’s once rich and unique flora and fauna.
Messersmith’s works build on stories (either real or conjectured), along with his own observations and concerns for all the creatures that move within the shrinking environs they inhabit. Even in 2014, powerful birds, vigilant panthers, wary gators, black water swamps, old cypress trees, are still managing to survive in Florida and in his paintings, along with back road citrus stands, and careening logging trucks. Said Messersmith, “These paintings are really of a time and place, midways between hope and despair.”
The large paintings (most measuring 82 x 65 inches) reference late Medievalism, ninetieth century Romanticism and contemporary outsider art. The handmade frames are cut and whittled, and have a definite folk sensibility and rough handcrafted quality. Southern Mythology represented by the Valley House Gallery in Dallas, Texas.
2. Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas presents a powerful visual narrative of the cultures, conflicts and conquests that forged the New World. Covering significant ruins in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America, Lost Worlds offers a unique pictorial survey of the geographical, architectural and historical diversity that defines the Americas. Photographer Arthur Drooker photographed thirty-three ruins in sixteen countries over a three-year period. A king’s palace in Haiti, Inca fortresses in Peru, Maya pyramids in Mexico and a colonial city in Panama sacked by legendary pirates are examples of the breadth of sites to be seen. Drooker photographed these ruins with a specially adapted digital infrared camera, providing the perfect format to capture their elegiac beauty and inherent mystery. The exhibit is on national tour by Guest Curator Traveling Exhibitions.
3. A HeART Full Family showcases the multi-generational talents of the Dewey Family- Imogene, award winning watercolor artist and teacher; her daughter and protégé, Theresa; and her son and photographer, Rene’. Using a variety of visual media, the Dewey’s present the color and sculpture of nature in watercolor, acrylic and photography.
Historic City Hall is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open on Bilbo Street behind the center every Saturday 8 a.m.-noon. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com.