Landfill No. 9: Northeastern Cross Section

Jonathan Mess

Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • Jonathan Mess Ceramic Art Sculpture Landfill Series Maine USA
  • $1,750.00

Unique, bold, and somehow familiar, this striking fine art sculpture is reminiscent of a geological phenomenon.

The title is flexible. Perhaps, given the fact the piece is comprised of reclaimed ceramic materials, it represents a commentary reflecting man and waste. If that is the case, optimism can be recognized in its message. Beauty is assigned to what would have otherwise been thrown away.

It's likely the layered effect is meant to mimic shoreline imagery associated with nature in the state of Maine. To achieve this result, various clay bodies and glazes were packed with paper, which burned away when the sculpture was fired in a kiln.

The center of this piece exhibits a highly textured and sharp cluster of material, which is similar to the effect of another series completed by the artist called "Midden Series." Shell middens, which are old refuse piles of discarded mollusk shells, are found all over the world in coastal zones. There are examples of such archaeological features in the artist's home region of Midcoast Maine. 

Whatever the true message of this art may be, it is up to the beholder to interpret it. Depending on light or mood, one's point of view may change as the eye wanders examining each crag and drip.

- Measures 9.25" x 10" x 5"
- Landfill Series 2012

Jonathan Mess is a contemporary ceramic artist from midcoast Maine who allows his art to be driven by instinct and experimentation. The freedom in his process unifies his various series, which are energetic, ambitious, and Environmental Art.

Using reclaimed materials and unconventional techniques, Jonathan Mess has a unique style. His work is a vehicle for education, guiding viewers to consider waste, recycling, and purposeful art. He is also an educator of youth, teaching ceramic and sculpture courses at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Maine.

Mess has an MFA in Ceramics from The State University of New York at New Paltz and a BFA in Studio Art at University of Montana - Missoula. The artist's solo exhibitions and major awards date back to 1998, and his work is exhibited internationally.

In 2018, Portland Museum of Art in Maine included Mess’s sculptures in its Biennial exhibition. 2019 will host his work at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Biennial. The exhibit is a survey of contemporary art of New England showcasing compelling and ambitious art-making in the region.

From the artist: “I’m excited to have my work at The Good Supply because I see it as my local gallery, which cares about representing local artists. It means a lot to me that my friends and teaching colleagues and kids at the school where I work have the chance to see my work, whereas if I have a show in Boston, no one in my hometown sees it. The local connection and sense of community is a really important part of art-making for me.”

From the critics: “Mess is in a class by himself as a Maine contemporary artist. His ceramic sculptures are built up like sediments, and take on geological logic through their construction and firing processes. The slips, glazes and clays shift, expand and shrink at varying rates in a way that mirrors geological activity on a macro level. What we see are cross-sections of layers of dynamic color and form with organic activity defining them. They are fascinating and powerful objects.” - Daniel Kany, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

We are honored to work with both Jonathan and his wife Kate Mess, award-winning enamelist and jewelry artist. Their studio endeavors have been closely linked since they met in graduate school in 2006. Renowned in their respective disciplines for innovation in pushing material boundaries, both Kate and Jonathan credit Maine’s rugged coastline and nature as their primary inspiration.

A recent Good Supply art exhibition entitled Symbiosis explored the similarities and differences in Jonathan and Kate’s work. The way their practices intertwine opens a dialogue regarding the benefit of cross-medium influence and experimentation. The couple work out of studio spaces in their home, a renovated gambrel barn in Jefferson, Maine.

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