Meg Bussey

Margaret (Meg) Bussey was born and grew up in Warrenton, Virginia with three younger brothers. Her parents enjoyed the woods so much that they built a house outside of town on a wooded lot and moved the whole family there. Her high school art teacher was a model for the practice of painting on-site, and through the school she had opportunities to do commercial and volunteer projects in posters, theatre sets, costumes, and also her first teaching job: watercolor.

She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a studio arts major and a dance minor, adding choreography and printmaking to her experience and interests. Marriage to a Minnesotan resulted in a move to Minnesota where she visited the Boundary Waters for the first time, and experienced Midwestern winter. She completed a second bachelor’s degree in art education at the University of Minnesota. After another round of life back in Virginia while her husband attended graduate school, Meg was accepted into the MFA program at the University of Minnesota and managed to graduate in 1987 with both a major in Printmaking and a still-living four-year-old child. (He has survived to become a teacher himself.)

Since earning her degree she has taught classes and workshops in studio art, including drawing, painting, watercolor, life drawing, printmaking and papermaking to both adults and children, at the University of Minnesota, College of Visual Art and Anoka Ramsey Community College. She has been active as a coop member of Highpoint Center for Printmaking and has maintained a studio space with a lithography press in the Northrup King Building in NE Minneapolis for many years.

She received a Minnesota State Arts board grant in 2005, which she used towards printmaking projects at Highpoint. She has been employed as an illustrator, most recently in a three-year cycle of illustrations for an online and print liturgical resource published by Augsburg Fortress Press. Large curatorial projects have been a more recent interest, including the show of contemporary regional watercolor artists Waterborne in 2008 and the contemporary printmaking show THENOW in 2010, both at the Katherine Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota and both including a selection of work from the Weisman Collection.


About the Work


I am deeply interested in the use of the human figure in the environment to express psychological, emotional, and cross-historical meaning. Our times are bewildering, but our bodies and senses have deep roots. The attentive encounter of a person, of any age, with our physical world is compelling to me, a symbol of hope. The AHA! experience of insight is basic to human nature. Much of this sort of experience does not come through a screen in  pixel form. The prevailing use by artists of media quotation, and purposeful obscurity to bury meaning is alien to what I have to say. I make use of the “traditions” of figuration, printmaking, and narrative to create meaning  which is of my time, coming out of my experience, but connected to both contemporary and historical artistic practice.

The conceptual aspect of my work consists of choosing materials carefully, sometimes using site-specific materials (such as using Mississippi river clay for pigment), or making materials from scratch (such as papermaking from local plant fiber). I use water and carbon black pigment in linseed oil (ink) to make a print from a stone onto plant-fibered paper. The process of experiment and discovery I go through in developing a print enacts the very conditions of making meaning from raw materials, one of those materials being my human experience.