Traces has earned a spectacular review in today's Maine Sunday Telegram, written by Daniel Kany: "Everyone should see this show." The review is packed with perceptive observations about the work, but here are a few highlights:
Kany writes, "What we see in "Traces" is actually abstract expressionist painting, but in clay. The works are dense abstractions with swirling lines, looping calligraphic marks and energetic bolts of organic color, all densely bound together as heavily textured fields of painting."
And, "However, Mess has options the abstract expressionist painters didn't. He scrapes, furrows and extrudes his slabs as well as building onto them -- revealing additive and subtractive sculptural logic. In "Large Traces No. 12," for example, Mess curls a poured line of black slip (a mostly talc liquid that can be poured into a mold or tinted to use like paint) over similar shapes carved into the surface of the clay. The effect is a literal weaving of the painted line into the surface."
And finally, "But does all this add up to good painting? In Mess' case, absolutely yes. Not only is he a skilled sculptor and ceramic artist, he also has a great eye and a surprisingly sharp visual intelligence. The works are boldly energetic and visually exciting, but they are also confident, handsome and sophisticated."
It is an honor to receive such a discerning and positive review. Please read it for yourself: "Everyone should see this show".