Mary Catherine Solberg

Mary Catherine Solberg Art

"Bold, iconic, contemporary work influenced by religious imagery, the masters, vintage postcards, and circus sideshow banners."

Solberg's work focuses on a single character. The large-scale portraits of people and animals capture moments of triumph, transition, and enlightenment. Dogs leap for balls, squirrels clutch their prize candy corn, and swimmers emerge from the water, each in their own way achieving transcendence. The backgrounds are dark, gilded, or inspired by the dramatic terrain of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, which the artist calls home.

Solberg's signature surfaced backgrounds and carved swim caps give an aged, fresco-like appearance, while the incorporation of metal leaf lends an ethereal touch. She uses various media, including plaster, oil, pastels, acrylics, beeswax, metal leaf, and glitter. Her technique, honed over many years of trial and error, produces a highly textured, masterful portrait with surprising depth and luminescence.

Inspired to pursue art full time, Solberg left her career in land surveying and went back to school to obtain a degree in fine art. While there, she indulged her appreciation for art history with a concentration on the Renaissance. This background is a constant source of inspiration for her subjects, however, her methods have evolved through experimentation and attending various workshops.

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Selected Exhibitions & Awards
WATER PORTRAITS, Solo Exhibition, Winona, MN 55987, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 2018
SWIM GIRLS, Solo Exhibition, Wayzata, MN, Historic Boat Works Building, 2017
ARCADIA, Solo Exhibition, La Crosse, WI 54601, Pump House Regional Arts Center, 2015
ICON SHOW, Solo Exhibition, Winona, MN 55987, St Mays University, 2013
EVERYDAY ICONS, Solo Exhibition, Lanesboro, MN, Lanesboro Arts Center, 2011
If You Only Knew National Juried Exhibition, Woodstock, ILL, Old Court House Arts Center, 2018
Dangerous Lullabies III National Exhibition, Crystal Lake, ILL, , Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole Mansion, 2017
Cream of the Crop Juried Artist's Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, Minnesota State Fair, 2017
Traveling Show, Minneapolis, MN, The American Swedish Institute , 2017
FIRST PLACE AWARD; Wintertide, Minneapolis, MN, Public Functionary, 2017