When Mark Messersmith first moved to Tallahassee, Fla., he was immediately struck by the wildness of the surrounding landscape, a wildness gone from much of America. In Mark Messersmith: Maximalist and Naturalist, Messersmith continues his exploration of the tension between this wild, living place and ever-increasing human expansion. Drawing on inspirations ranging from the Pre-Raphaelites, Martin Johnson Heade, Southern folk art and medieval manuscripts, the paintings of Messersmith are dense, radiant, and sculptural depictions of the flora and fauna of northern Florida struggling to survive.
Mark Messersmith is Professor of Art at Florida State University, where he has taught since 1985. He received an MFA from Indiana University, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Ford Fellowship, four Individual Artist Fellowship Awards from the Florida Department of State, and a 2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting Award.