of Ex Machina Gallery
Featuring World-Class Artists of the Upper Great Plains

Our featured artists:

HALL ONE: Thomas Shields
HALL TWO: Mark W. McGinnis
HALL THREE: Carl Grupp
HALL FOUR: Joel Strasser
HALL FIVE: Eyob Mergia
HALL SIX: Robert Aldern
HALL SEVEN: Jerry Aistrup
HALL EIGHT: Dick Krueger
Coming Soon: Mary Selvig, Richard Bresnahan


Images of Faith

Perhaps no artist in the region belies the title of "regional artist" more than Mark W. McGinnis. For over 25 years now, McGinnis has delved into subjects of universal interest. His most recent work concentrates on Buddhist themes in illustrations for the Buddhist Animal Wisdom Stories and for Gitanjali, a book of poems by Rabindranath Tagore, but for some time his subject has been faith in all its variations in projects like Designs of Faith, Elders of the Faiths, and Elders of the Benedictines. At Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., where he has taught since 1976, he teaches a class called "Art, Religion, and Values." And a paper he delivered to the 13th Annual National Conference on the Liberal Arts and Education of Artists in New York City in 1999 was titled "The Language of Art and Understanding Our World."
Beatle and Elephant

Animal Wisdom Stories

McGinnis' most recent projects includes a series of illustrations for Buddhist Animal Wisdom Stories .

Click here to view additional samples of this series.


Another recent project is an ambitious one, illustrations for the classic Indian work, Gitanjali a book of poems by Rabindranath Tagore.

Click here to view additional samples of this series.
For larger view click on image.

Although Mark W. McGinnis has embraced universal themes, that is not to say that the culture of the region has escaped his notice. Elders of the Faiths portrayed the wisdom of the many religions to be found on the Upper Great Plains, including Hutterite and Lakota. And his paintings for Lakota & Dakota Animal Wisdom Stories show an understanding of key elements in the spirit of the West. But his abiding interest in the world at large is shown in earlier projects such as The Wonderful World of Explorers and Third World Ties. These explorations suggest that McGinnis is driven by a personal quest for what is central and essential to humankind. Much of his work seems to be following the thread that ties people together in their deepest beliefs and to treat the differences as variations on a theme. His ambitious Designs of Faith, undertakes no less than an artistic rendering of the major religions of the world.
HOPI His art embraces not only painting and scupture, but also performance, essays, and video, demonstrating both the reach and the grasp of his work. Several projects, including Elders of the Faiths, involve interviews with the subjects of McGinnis' portraits. His academic vitae cites numerous presentations on such learned topics as "Nurturing the Human Interface" and "Ethics, Aesthetics, Art History, and Students." And a long list of grants and awards include several from Northern State University, the Adrienne Kaufman Peace With Justice Award from the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center, and a Grant for Interdisciplinary Artists from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation.
IFA For larger view click on image.

Since receiving his M.F.A. in painting from the University of Illinois in 1974, McGinnis' work has been on almost constant display in venues ranging from regional galleries and universities to The Russell Rotunda on Capital Hill, Washington, D.C. (1999). For an artist of such world-wide interests, he has attracted a tremendous loyalty in his home state of South Dakota. In addition to showings, his projects have generated hundreds of column-inches of stories in regional newspapers and magazines. Currently a retrospective show, Mark W. McGinnis - 1980 to 2000, is attracting visitors to the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, S.D.
In addition to the publication of Lakota & Dakota Animal Wisdom Stories and Elders of the Faiths, McGinnis has published a raft of articles on education, including several from the prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education. Many of these articles in the last decade have reflected his belief that television is choking the sensitivity and creativity of students.
Sister Jane
A recent manifestation of McGinnis' absorption with world faiths was a journey to India in 1999 to visit key locales associated with the Buddha. In a travel journal recording his experiences, McGinnis has written, "Although the pilgrimage aspect of the trip was shortened to only half the sites of the Buddha that I wished to visit, the spiritual dimension of the trip surpassed my wildest expectation."

Father HeckFor larger view click on image.

Recent Showings--2002- Buddhist Animal Wisdom Stories, Isaac Lincoln Gallery, NSU, Aberdeen, SD; 2002 -Designs of Faith, paintings & essays, St. John's University, Collegeville, MN; 2001 -Designs of Faith, paintings & essays, Mizel Museum of Judaica, Denver, CO; 2001- Elders of the Benedictines, portraits and interviews, Bede Gallery, Mount Marty College, Yankton, SD. Mark W. McGinnis - 1980-2000 - Major Projects showed at the Visual Art center, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, SD.

Other shows in 2000 included Designs of Faith, paintings & essays, Steensland Art Museum, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, Elders of the Benedictines, Isaac Lincoln Gallery, NSU, Aberdeen, SD, Studies for Designs of Faith, watercolors, Nobles County Art Center, Worthington, MN, Watercolor Sketches from India, Student Center Gallery, NSU, Aberdeen, SD.

Call Mark W. McGinnis at 605-229-5898 or 605-626-2515. Fax: 605-626-2263. E-Mail: mcginnim@northern.edu