MARY BETH MAGYAR: TO BUILD A NEST

OPENING RECEPTION THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2016 | 6 – 8 PM
ARTIST TALK WITH MARY BETH MAGYAR AND CURATOR SUSANNAH MAGERS | 7 PM

Opening receptions are free and open to the public

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Mary Beth Magyar. Still from The Beginning Starts With An Ending, 2016. 10 minute color looped video. Photo: Laura Nickel.

Rochester Art Center is excited to present the first exhibition in our newly re-imagined RAC2 Local Artist Series, a solo exhibition of new and recent sculpture, video, and drawings by Rochester-based artist Mary Beth Magyar. To continue RAC’s commitment to Southeastern Minnesota artist communities and to provide more visibility, we have shifted this celebrated exhibition series to our former Emerging Artist Series gallery on our third floor.

The exhibition utilizes various lighting levels and scale relationships in regards to the viewer to facilitate an immersive, multi-media environment: one focused on manifestations of nests in video, ceramic and rebar sculpture, and large-scale drawings. An effigy to a dear late friend of the artist, the video work The Beginning Starts With An Ending, 2016 (projected to human scale within the gallery space) speaks to the process of saying goodbye, and the intangible matter we accumulate and carry around with us: grief, memories, nostalgia, and of course, our sense of home. Built over weeks by Magyar on a farm in neighboring Eyota, MN—scavenging around the property and including sticks, metal, and whatever she could find—Magyar experienced multiple interactions, or interferences, with the natural environment during that process. Birds would sit on the nest as she built it, with one even attempting to build a nest within the sculpture itself. The process of building and burning the nest for Magyar served both cathartic and necessary functions: “I needed to end it.” Documenting the culmination of this massive, additive nest—in which Magyar lit the nest on fire twice, in the fall of 2015, and in winter of 2016—this work also speaks to entropy, and the birth and regeneration that emerges from destruction.

Accompanying the video are five nest sculptures made of hundreds of hand-made and fired ceramic sticks, stacked individually atop rebar bases, and three large-scale charcoal drawings of nests on paper. Physically strong yet comprised of discarded and fragile materials reworked and repurposed, and varying in size and height, the nest sculptures take up space within the gallery—encouraging visitors to navigate them from all angles and perspectives. Lit from within, these ceramic nests will emanate a low, ambient light—in between and in contrast to the adjacent video projection and spot-lit charcoal drawings. These large-scale drawings are visual reflections of the energy used to create nests: kinetic, layered, swirling circles and lines. Magyar states: “Birds create environments in the most harsh or inhospitable places, rebuilding or destroying as necessary. From this comes something compelling, often harmonious and beautiful. The nest is a symbol of life that exudes energy, craftsmanship, purpose and a certain expertise and tenacity to get it right. Birds use whatever is afforded by nature and whatever garbage is workable. The detritus is woven and manipulated into a home: a small wonder of ingenuity. My iterations of nests are a way to relate to the viewer.”

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Mary Beth Magyar is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living and working in Rochester, MN. Previously, she was the Event and Community Outreach Director at Lexington Art League, in Lexington, Kentucky. Magyar holds a BFA from Michigan State University. Her work explores the resiliency of nature, the deconstruction of objects, and reflects the enigmatic processes of the natural world through the incorporation of multiple mediums such as drawing, sculpture, and ceramics.

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ABOUT RAC2 LOCAL ARTIST SERIES

RAC2 supports talented artists throughout our region. RAC2 serves eleven counties including Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona. With this series, RAC has broadened and diversified the creative opportunities for Rochester area artists as RAC’s professional staff serves both a curatorial and mentorship role, working directly with artists on realizing their vision throughout the implementation of a new project. This collaboration creates an enriching experience and an exciting program and venue for artists practicing in our area. It also offers the community the opportunity to celebrate local artistic achievement.