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“The Ride of Your Life” Retrospective Exhibition

  • April 13, 2019 - June 16, 2019
  • Lanesboro Arts Gallery + Google Map

Lanesboro Arts presents “The Ride of Your Life,” a retrospective exhibition of oil paintings by Marvin Messing. The exhibit opens April 13th and runs through June 16th, 2019.  Always free and open to the public, the Lanesboro Arts Gallery is open Tuesday though Saturday in April, Tuesday through Sunday in May and seven days a week in June.

Marvin Messing’s paintings deeply reflect his personal experiences of World War II. In a satirical and playful way his art raises social, political, and religious questions. He references his life experiences as the “ride of his life”, showcasing that everyone embraces life differently and no one’s experiences are identical, but the final destination is the same for all.

He often stated, “What I am attempting to say is not as important as the viewer’s response.”

Born in 1922, artist Marvin Messing developed his love for art growing up in Freeport Illinois. After high school Messing attended college at the Art Institute of Chicago. In his third year he was advised to continue developing his skills in sculpture but was interrupted by American’s entry into World War II, which lead him to enlist in the Navy, later serving in the South Pacific. Due to Messing’s artistic abilities he worked with the Navy Intelligence as a topographical map and model maker. By night, himself along with other artists were dropped near Japanese held islands, sent to explore and return in the morning. Then later drawing maps based upon what he had seen.

Messing remained silent about his experiences during that time, but his art work was profoundly influenced by his participation and perception of the war.

After the war Messing resumed life in Freeport, working and pursuing art. In the 1960’s, Messing became actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement, which ended up being one of the most prolific periods of his artistic career. He firmly believed that artists have a duty to inform and evoke deep thought about the human condition through their art. He explored these themes through oil painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Towards the end of his career he described his style as “contemplative art”, he wanted it to stir up controversy and provoke thought.

In 1984 Messing relocated to Flathead Valley, Montana to be closer to family. Outside of his own artistic practice Messing spent 11 years of this life teaching art at several community colleges in Montana and Illinois. In 2006 he had to lay down his paint brush due to tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, which later took his life at the age of 92 in 2014.

His artistic career spanned over 70 years and his work is still being shown today in private collections, churches, and museums.

You can read more about Marvin’s work at:

This exhibit is sponsored by F & M Community Bank and made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. For more information visit, call 507-467-2446 or email Handicapped accessible and free to the public, the exhibition gallery is located at 103 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro, MN.

Featured image: “Balloon Man,” oil on canvas by Marvin Messing

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