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... Mess' slabs usually act like the unruly child versions of paintings. Their lines are wild, and their surfaces are varied and thickly textured with glazes, slips, fissures and irascibly independent materials that refused to be melted into line.
- Daniel Kany, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram
For the first month of 2011, I created a new body of experimental wall tiles or “slabs,” working in a sort of reverse, monoprinting style in a press mold, using colored slips, stains, glazes and a variety of clays. Various remnants in the molds of slip drawings and paintings from previous tiles transferred to the surfaces of following tiles, giving rise to the title Traces. With this series, I also continued the series of Erosion tiles that I began in the summer of 2010, emulating natural erosion processes in the layers of colored slips in the surfaces of the tiles.
My recent work has involved several series that visually and metaphorically reference land, landscape, maps, strata, geology and geography. Those influences are still present in this work, but these tiles are looser. They’ve become about mark-making and action. Process and its evidence have emerged as an essential aspect of this work.