Paper: An Analysis of the Paintings of Mark Messersmith

The paintings of Mark Messersmith are the most chaotic and confusing works of art | have ever laid eyes on. It is very hard to grasp the effects and themes the artist was trying to convey when painting these scenes. The scenes are very busy and tend to move your attention from one point to another which makes interpretation even harder. One particular painting, Wakulla, was especially odd. In this painting you are looking at the scene from the height of the surrounding trees, almost as if you are sitting on a tree branch. The center focal point seems to be a possum sitting on a limb with a snake in his mouth. Although this seems to be the center of the scene, your attention very quickly is drawn to the fish flying through the air. The reasoning for this seems very vague. Maybe, the fish are making themselves more readily available to the birds above. This thought quickly fades from your mind because the birds seem to be totally uninterested in the actions of the fish. Interpreting the meaning of such a painting is based very much on an individuals thought processes. This work is very unique and seems to take on a different personality or theme each time you examine it. Although you find new things with every viewing, one thing remains constant. The idea of nature vs. nature tends to stick out in your mind as you picture the actions of the various animals shown. Although very hard to understand, the use of color and layering effects produce a very vivid and life like scene. The fish at the top of the picture and the animals underneath the painting seem to make the painting too busy. In fact, it adds to the already confusing and distracting scene the picture itself depicts. When | view a work of art | try to feel what the artist was feeling as he painted it; come to terms with his thoughts and what he is trying to convey in his work. With the work of Messersmith you can never be sure whether he is saying that nature is working against itself and man is working against nature or if he just has a messed up outlook on the world. Art is meant to be appreciated and enjoyed. The artwork of Mark Messersmith is almost totally unable to be understood , much less appreciated. Personally, | would rather never see another Messersmith exhibit again. A lot is to be said for the meanings of paintings; without a pretty good understanding of the ideas set forth by the artist, a person will never truly appreciate the work. It would take a person with an art history or interpretation degree to be able to decipher these scenes. When you take more time trying to figure out what you are looking at than feeling what the artist wanted you to feel , you have wasted your time and his. The exhibition of the work of Messersmith is, in fact, a waste of everyones time. ...