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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Brian Frink

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Distinguished Faculty - Brian Frink

Brian Frink Biography
College of Arts and Humanities, Minnesota State University, Mankato

bfrinkBrian Frink’s art has been exhibited in museums, galleries and art centers, throughout the Midwest and nationally. Brian was designated a Distinguished Faculty Scholar in 2010, a great honor bestowed on only fifteen faculty members over the years. He has been the recipient of many other awards, fellowships, and grants (Minnesota State Arts Board, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts).

In 1994, Brian exhibited his paintings in the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. His work is included in national and international public and private collections, and he has received numerous research grants from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Brian has been teaching painting and drawing at Minnesota State University, Mankato, for twenty-three years. He received his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University. Afterwards, he moved to an old factory space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he painted for five years -- becoming an “urban pioneer” in the artists’ community. In 1984 he and his wife moved to Madison, where he received his MFA at the University of Wisconsin. He began his work at MSU, Mankato, after graduation.

For thirty-five years Brian explored a style of painting that is easily (though not entirely accurately) described as organic gestural abstraction. Two years ago his work went through a major and startling shift; he now paints portraits of pet dogs and cats. His website can be viewed at Brian also founded Rural America Contemporary Art (RACA). RACA is a group that advocates and fosters community among rural contemporary artists. Please go to to view Racart, the organization’s online magazine.

Brian and his wife live in the old Blue Earth County poor farm, an extensively remodeled 140-year old structure, renamed the Poor Farm Studios. Brian creates large-scale paintings and Wilbur, his wife, creates work for social justice theater groups. They have two children and a grandson who live with them. Brian is on sabbatical until Spring 2013, when he will resume teaching all levels of painting and life drawing. He will become chairperson of the Department of Art next Fall.


Awards and Grants:

Art Appreciation
Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award
McKnight Individual Artist Fellowship
Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist Fellowship

Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant
Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council Grant
Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant
National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artist Fellowship


Minneapolis Institute of Art



Art & Projects:

Large-scale paintings
Organic gestural abstraction
Pet Portraiture

Rural America Contemporary Art (Racart)
Poor Farm Studios