The four panels of “Quadriga: Elements of State” by MaryBeth Garrigan were inspired by the gilded copper sculpture situated atop the portico of the Minnesota State Capitol entitled “Progress of the State” by Daniel Chester French and Edward Potter. As in the original sculpture, Garrigan depicts the classic elements of water, fire, air, and earth as horses in her acrylic on canvas panels, translated into traditional Venetian smalti glass mosaic for this installation at MSP Airport by Miotto Mosaics Art Studios. In contrast to the original sculpture, Garrigan’s horses, and the elements that they represent, are unbridled as they swirl across the picture plane, suggesting a delicate balance between the powers of government, agriculture, industry, natural resources, and quality of life in Minnesota.
The Earth Horse stands steadfast upon the land while holding the power of the people’s resolve. The northern winter brings a time of reflection and peace. The land sleeps under a blanket of snow and stars of the clear, cold sky, where the full moon casts your shadow.
About the Artist:
Saint Paul-based artist and educator MaryBeth Garrigan’s paintings portray a lushly-colored world of visual poetry, reflecting her love of science, history, architecture, and nature. Synesthesia is experienced as her perfumed compositions evoke a layered music of the mind and a narrative of Artemis, the feminine archetype as a hunter. Garrigan was the founding executive director of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. She teaches art at the American Indian Magnet School and is an active member of the Schmidt Artist Lofts community in Saint Paul.