Agroccult | andy messerschmidt

Showing March 2019 |  MacRostie Gallery |  Sponsored by Bill Rutherford, Susan Hawkinson, and Stan Cronister.

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Andy Messerschmidt was born in Illinois and currently lives and works in Ely, Minnesota. He received his MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN in 2002 and earned his BFA from Millikin University in Decatur, IL in 1999. Andy has shown extensively in New York at Plane-Space Gallery for seven years and continues to have shows in the United States and abroad. Recently, he has exhibited in Germany, Japan, Hawaii, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

 Andy Messerschmidt’s March show "Agroccult" is a body of over 800 paintings. This collection will involve landscape paintings depicting the fetishization of Earth and the scars this has left upon the planet's soil. These scars are now venerated and shown off like battle scars or allegorical tattoos. 

“The American landscape has sustained brutal changes, and its short history only underscores the brutality. Seen by turns as an untouched paradise to control, a lush mystery to explore, a powerful force to be subdued, or a sanitized growing medium to produce, the land has been changed and changed again. Westward expansion enabled land grabs and territory shaping. The draining of swamps, damming of rivers, and digging of canals produced towns. Slashing, burning, and tillage made way for Monoculture. The catalog of physical changes is matched by the spiritual scars: economy-building enslavements, unreckoned prodding and herding into reservations, willy-nilly desecrations of burial grounds, the detonations in Los Alamos, the staining by the Exxon Valdez. Coming full circle, the land is a scuffed and battered pulpit for the new pilgrims, indeed.

The Agroccult series does not depict these events in a way that is immediately recognizable; rather, it focuses on the land itself as a stage for the series of tragedies enacted upon it. Images of archetypal mysticism peek through the curtains of traditional landscapes, asking the viewer to question the ritual, the beliefs, the motives of its cultural totems and memorials now appearing on stage. Where do our land ideologies come from? What is the burden? Can we be forgiven? It is these very spiritual wisps and abandoned glyphs of former utopias that make for the psychologically-loaded landscape. The desire to revere a traditional landscape scene becomes thwarted by an aberration, by painted orbs, auras, tracers and luminosities adorning the object of worship.”


Analogous | mary beth magyar

Showing March 2019 |  Minnesota Gallery |  Sponsored by Miskovich Dental


Mary Beth Magyar (Rochester, MN) was born and raised mostly in California, but has lived all over the country. She received a painting degree from Michigan State University. After college she worked for Graphicstudio in Tampa, Florida and produced relief sculptures for Richard Anuskiewicz and Robert Stackhouse. Magyar’s work and inspiration are primarily drawn from the environment. She is particularly drawn to life cycles and that small space where it could be the beginning or the ending. Mary Beth enjoys the limitlessness and process of working with clay. She combines clay with metal elements as a way to make larger pieces and environments, the metal evoking vines, branches and providing connections within materials. Her work continues to evolve and reflect larger landscapes.

Mary Beth Magyar’s exhibit “Analogous” will include a collection of her works in ceramic, metal and wax. The exhibit consists of fifteen to twenty ceramic hives. The hives are smoke treated and have varying textures. Each hive is hand-built and unique to its counterparts. The exhibit is designed to promote environmental consciousness and emphasize the critical role bees play in Earthly life. Rituals and cycles are central to Magyar's work, as she uses smoke and organic materials in various stages of decay to pair the rituality and cyclical nature of death.

“Rituals and cycles are central to my work.  Throughout the world there are many cultural rituals to honor the dead.  Death is the ending and a beginning to the life cycle, organically and spiritually.  This intersection of cultural rituals and the natural process of death inspire my work. Dirt, shells, metal, fire and wood are all prevalent to ritualize death. My media choices reflect these organic mediums.

My ceramic practice involves making a series of similar objects in various forms of decay and layering them in a way to invoke a burial ritual. Most of the forms I am interested in are organic; bones, twigs, shells, and leaves.  These forms are readily available and what any person could gather from the earth. I intentionally leave my marks, smudges and prints on my pieces to evoke the making.  They are then gathered and layered in a way that makes the fragments whole again.  This process allows me to symbolically create a life cycle.

My metal practice draws on vessels used in burial rituals and life cycles: boats, urns, mounds and nests. In combination, the metal and ceramic reflect the stronger and more fragile elements of the life cycle.                           

Fire and death are interchangeable; both represent a beginning and an ending. Fire is often used in funeral rituals. Fire is also a natural catalyst for change in the natural realm. Fire is used to make my work and I employ it to destroy my work. The sculptures that are designed to burn are a combination of construction and deconstruction.  I am interested in what is left, what survives and becomes part of the next cycle?” 


Mary Beth Magyar is a fiscal year 2018 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.