Kristin Musgnug's (born 1959, Buffalo, NY) paintings depict the natural world, and they draw on a scientific view of nature as well as the role nature occupies in culture and in the human psyche. With a focus on humanity’s often idealized relationship with nature versus its actual relationship with nature, her work often depicts weeds, fungi, the forest floor, invasive species, and the marginal landscape. Her work draws on ideas surrounding the idealized landscape such as Arcadia, the garden, and the notion of pure wilderness, as well as how these ideas are manifested in actual places.
Kristin Musgnug received a BA in Art History from Williams College, MA, in 1981 and an MFA in Painting from Indiana University in 1988. From 1988 to 1990 she was an Artist in Residence at the Glassell School's Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Solo exhibitions include the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center, Diablo Lake, WA (2015); Un-Natural Histories: Paintings of Invasive Species, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (2010); Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (1999); Uses of Nature, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX (1998); and the Marko Cepenkov Center of Culture in Prilep Macedonia (1996).
Kristin Musgnug's paintings spring from an interest in the complex interactions between people and nature, including how our concept of nature shapes our actions toward the land. Painting on location is crucial to her process. The paintings are the products of an intimate experience of place. For Musgnug, the act of making a landscape painting has less to do with making an objective visual record and everything to do with investigating the ideas, fears and fantasies we attach to nature. The work draws on her interest in the scientific view of nature as well as the role nature occupies in the human psyche.
Musgnug lives and works in Fayetteville, AR, where she is Professor of Painting at the University of Arkansas.