THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR

Stay Tuned for this Photographic Celebration by Charles Hézsely and John Mihelic at the Robbin Gallery in 2016.

Charles and John enjoy taking photos at the Minnesota State Fair. Both of these Twin Cities photographers are members of the Robbin Gallery and the Mpls Photo Center where they perfected their photographic craft.

Feel free to contact Charles at chezsely@gmail.com or John at john.mihelic@gmail.com if you have any questions about this 2016 photography exhibit or about other projects they are working on. John is also an excellent writer and he is the author of the artists' statement for this future exhibit:

It’s our “Great Minnesota Get-Together” – those happy, old-fashioned ten days at the end of summer that celebrate what we in Minnesota have in common, while at the same time they ease our dread as the hot golden days of August retreat before the advance of grey winter.

But the Fair is not One Thing. Or even a dozen things. The Fair is truly a thousand realities.

In the purest physical sense it’s a place that waits through the months for the moment once a year when, like a mayfly, it comes to riotous life and then quickly fades back into a husk.

The Fair is people – all ages, colors, shapes, ethnicities, all taking the opportunity to wear their least-stylish Saturday morning T-shirts and shorts, caring nothing about how they look. It’s an opportunity for families to meander the fairgrounds five-abreast like schools of fish.

It’s food and it’s ritual. Just about everyone who goes to the Fair retraces the same comforting steps year after year – sweet corn on the cob, smoked pork chops dribbling grease on your shirt, pronto pups drenched in mustard, cotton candy sticking to your fingers and your cheeks; the stroll through the animal barns to admire the sleek livestock, to hear lustful roosters crowing; the annual walk through the dog exhibit, through the butterfly tent, the Art Barn; through the breads, cakes, pickles, jams, jellies, and crafts in the 4H exhibits.

It’s not just noise and crowds. For the dozens of volunteer organizations, the Fair is the yearly fundraising opportunity – good nature, good food, and responsible social concern all baked into a hot dish. It’s the essence of wholesomeness in the Princess Kay butter sculpture. It’s the muscular heavy metal symphony of red, green, yellow, orange, and chrome on Machinery Hill. It’s a hundred intimate corners, moments of quiet solitude just outside the path of the flowing crowds. It’s the aching beauty of the Midway lights against the dark blue evening sky at dusk. It’s the bittersweet picture of a boy asleep on his prize-winning and soon-to-be sold calf.

For Minnesotans, it’s a yearly sacrament; a time-warp that simultaneously carries us into our common past and shared future as it reconnects us with each other and our chosen state.

The exhibit’s two photographers, Charles Hézsely and John Mihelic, have radically differing histories and photographic styles, yet they have complementary visions. In approximately 60 photographs they propose to portray the Minnesota State Fair in its multifaceted reality. Taken as a whole, their unique and evocative photographs capture the remarkable living reality that is our Fair – faces, animals, food, vendors, causes, entertainment, rides, buildings, Fair workers, demonstrations, exhibits, side-shows, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and main events.

© John Mihelic and Charles Hézsely