Artist Statement -

Jason Messinger creates ceramic art that straddles the cool allure of pure abstraction and the hot recognition of representation. His art explores the fuzzy borders between representation and abstraction, identity and design, meaning and beauty. Sculptures that are abstract in shape but with a figurative sensibility, and tile murals with symbolic imagery that tease the viewer into becoming complicit in their meaning.

The sculptures are solidly present while expressly fluid. They change appearance with the viewers' perspective, transforming in shape and direction. Each face of the work functions like movements of a dance, with unexpected turns. Different perspectives on the work converse with each other, creating a circular narrative of motion and stillness, form and emotion.

The artist approaches ceramic tile with a painter's concerns and a sculptor's experience. The idea of abstraction on the edge of identification permeates the work. Images often hint at language, symbol, map, comic strip, or hieroglyph; but only hint, as the symbols remain undefined, transitional. His multi-tile works are modular, allowing any configuration and sequence of the tiles. The murals exhibit a circular narrative, open-ended to interpretation. The viewer becomes complicit in constructing the meaning. Mounting systems allows one to easily change the position of the tiles, and thus reset the 'narrative'.

The artist's paintings and drawings on paper in ink, pastel, and watercolor, re-imagine the world into patterns and diagrams of movement and color, light and gesture.

Artist Exhibitions

2011, 4/1-5/17 Jason Messinger, Center On Halsted, Chicago, IL
2010, 3/4-4/18 Symbols&Sympathies, GoggleWorks Center Arts, Reading,PA
2009, 5/7-6/6 The Travel Blooms, Eyeporium Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006, 11/3 - 24 Urban Legends, August House, Chicago, IL
2006, 7/1-30 New Works by Jason Messinger, Roscoes, Chicago, IL
2005, 5/20 Between the Lines, Cornelia Arts, Chicago, IL
2005, 3/13-4/20 Symbologies, Cliff Dwellers, Chicago, IL
2004, 10/21 Open Studio Exhbition, Cornelia Arts, Chicago, IL
2004,9/28-10/24 Jason Messinger, Freedman Gllry, Albright College, PA
2004, 7/1-7/30 Speak to Me, Soul Cafe. Chicago, IL
2004, 2/1-2/29 FOTA Presents Jason Messinger, Chicago, IL
2003,9/6- 28 BOND: Izzo & Messinger,Peter Jones Gallery,Chicago, IL
2002,11/8-1/1 Jason Messinger, Elan Vital Gallery, Wailea, HI
2002,8/1 - 8/31 Messinger & Zaitz,Union League,Chicago, IL
2002,4/20 -5/26 Jason Messinger, FOTA/SBC, Chicago, IL
2002,4/1 - 4/30 Jason Messinger, Sweet Thang, Chicago, IL
2002,3/1 - 3/30 Paintings & Drawings, FOTA/SBC, Chicago, IL
2001,10/7 -10/3 Patterns & Presence, Sunshine Gallery, Chicago, IL
2000,11/6-12/8 Flux/Flow, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
1999,4/1-30 Jason Messinger, August House, Chicago, IL

2012 6/10Ð10/10 Open Walls Gallery, 4243 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL
2011 9/30-4/29/12 WRITE Now, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
2011 5/13 CAB Spring Open House Cornelia Arts Bldg, Chicago, IL
2011 2/5 You Are Beauty Cornelia Arts Bldg, Chicago, IL
2009 10/3-4 Ravenswood Art Walk, Cornelia Arts Bldg, Chicago, IL
2009 6/5-7/3 Grrrr....Animals!!!, Eyeporium Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008 11/4-17 Attainable Art, Peter Jones Gallery, Chicago
2008 10/10-12/5 Made in Illinois, Robert Morris Glley, Springfield, IL
2008 10/4-5 Ravenswood Art Walk,Cornelia Arts Bldg, Chicago, IL
2008 1/11-3/9 People of the Mud 2, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago
2007 11/3-12/2 CRAZY 8, Peter Jones Gallery, Chicago
2007 10/3-5 Ravenswood Art Walk, Cornelia Arts, Chicago, IL
2007 4/14-5/31 FOTA members show, Wishbone, Chicago, IL
2006 9/9 - 9/30 The Word is Art, Johnsonese Gallery,Chicago, IL
2005 8/13-28 PaintHangerTileDot, Peter Jones Gallery,Chicago, IL
2004 12/14-1/29 Winter Group Exhibit, Holzemer Gallery, Minneap. MN
2004 12/9 NewTownWrtier Exhibit, Bailiwick Theater, Chicago, IL
2004 12/3-1/8/05 Holidaze, August House Studios, Chicago IL
2004 5/22-7/17 Epicycloid, Johnsonese Gallery, Chicago, IL
2004 5/21 Visual Elocution, Cornelia Arts Building, Chicago, IL
2004 4/15-6/20 San Angelo Natl Ceramic, San Angelo Msm Fine Arts, CA
2004 4/2-5/9 27th Art on Paper, Maryland Fed. of Art, Baltimore MD
2004 4/2 - 25 Birds I Have Know II, August House, Chicago, IL
2004 3/6-4/28 Doppleganger, Johnsonese Gallery, Chicago, IL
2004 1/24 FOTA 16th Ann.Show, Cornelia Arts, Chicago, IL
2003 12/5-31 3-2-1 Ignite!, Izzo-Jones Arts Arena, Chicago
2003 10/18-26 ARTival, Peter Jones Gallery, Chicago
2003 4/12-5/12 INSERTION, Stolizzo Gallery, Chicago, IL
2002 7/15-12/24 Gallery Artists , Jayne Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2002 6/1- 6/30 BLISS, Stolizzo Gallery, Chicago, IL
2002 1/26 FOTA Members, Friends of The Arts, Chicago, IL
2002 1/2 -10/30 Gallery Show, Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Fran, CA
2001 11/9-11/24 PHOBIA: 2001, 13th Floor Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001 10/19-10/24 4th Chicago Art Open, 3rd Floor Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001 10/5-10/20 TILE: Out of the Box, Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA
2001 9/6 - 9/9 Around the Coyote, Sweet Thang, Chicago, IL
2001 8/10-19 IL Prof.Art Exhibition, IL Artisans, Springfield,IL
2001 7/14-8/17 66th Ann. Natl Exhibit, Cooperstown Art Assc., NY
2001 7/1 - 9/28 Director's Choice, Minneapolis Art Institute, MN
2001 4/28 -5/20 OUTBREAK, Gallery 2828, Chicago, IL
2001 3/16-31 For the Birds, August House, Chicago, IL
2001 2/17-3/31 CONTAINED, Contained Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001 1/2-12/31 Gallery Show, D. Chadwick Gallery, San Fran. CA
2000 11/9-18 Chicago Art Open, 3rd Floor Gallery, Chicago, IL
2000 9/7-10 Around the Coyote, Gallery 213/ABN Gallery, Chicago, IL
2000 8/11 -20 IL Prof.Art Exhibition, IL Artisans, Springfield,IL
2000 7/16-8/18 65th Natl Exh, Cooperstown Art Assc., Cooperstown, NY
2000 7/14-30 Adam & Eve Artist Ball, Peter Jones, Chicago, IL
2000 6/3- 6/30 50th Ann. Quad State, Quincy Art Center, Quincy, IL
2000 5/19-6/11 Smoke & Mirrors, Gallery 212, Ann Arbor, MI
2000 5/15-6/11 RED, Makeready Press Gallery, Montclair, NJ
2000 3/12-5/11 Evanston Biennial, Evanston Art Center, Evanston,IL
2000 1/2-12/31 Gallery Show, Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Fran, CA
1999 11/21-12/24 Small Packages, Wood Street Gallery, Chicago, IL
1999 11/12-20 Chicago Art Open, 47 West Jackson, Chicago, IL
1999 2/1-2/24 Chicago Artists, Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL
1998 1/16-3/13 The Apocalypse Show, De Paul University, Chicago, IL
1998 10/14-11/15 Toy Show, August House, Chicago, IL
1997 10/3-25 Hot House, August House, Chicago, IL
1997 9/1-30 Open Season on Art, Mars Gallery, Chicago, IL
1996 11/12-12/14 Vicinity Show-'96, Norris Gallery, St Charles, IL...

Artist Publications

Jason Messinger: It's A Wild Thing
- solo show catalog excerpt by Chris Youngs,
Freedman Gallery, Albright College, 2004

"Wassily Kandinsky is commonly considered to be the first artist to create purely abstract work. This is, of course, a Western notion, ignoring the abstract patterns traditionally found in carpets, tiles and architectural embellishments of religious works in the Islamic world. Dating back to the seventh century, in the Muslim world, the concept of representation, of attempting to reproduce an image of the natural world was tantamount to heresy, a mocking of God, who was considered to be the only true maker of life or lifelike forms. Fundamentally, this absence of recognizable imagery relates to the QurÕanÕs condemnation of idols or idolatry. The written word, calligraphy, played an important role in their religious art, combining literary and visual information. Jason MessingerÕs 'Metropolis' echoes many of these precepts of abstraction. There is a hint, a suggestion, of text running through a contradictory narrative, at once beautifully simple and puzzlingly complex. In reference to his work, Messinger speaks of abstraction on the edge of representation, a fuzzy borderline. On one level, reading this large work is akin to attempting to decipher ancient and mysterious hieroglyphs, symbols of meaning. But this route of understanding is eventually debased, as the images are actually undefined, not based in any known language. Instead, the work creates its own language, an enigmatic structure of non-linear thought. The non-linear aspect of the tile works is emphasized by the fact that they may be arranged and rearranged in a multitude of variations, the modular nature of the work allows it to be horizontal or vertical, re-ordering the sequence of the individual pieces. In the Western world, we are accustomed to reading from left to right, and this cultural constraint pervades the ordered manner in which we view art. In a large horizontal work, we look from left to right. Essentially, Messinger turns this tradition around in a circular fashion, forcing a new way of reading. Although the tile works are based on a grid pattern, paradoxically, rather than following a rigid linear sequence, the eye tends to dance around the composition. Instead of a still pattern of regimentation, there is a choreography of creation on the part of the viewer. This liberation of interpretation, the freedom of the viewer to rearrange the order of objects in the mindÕs eye, or even to actually physically alter the installation order is paramount to understanding MessingerÕs method, his desire, to include the viewer in the creative process of his work. Kandinsky often based his work on music, frequently naming his paintings after musical movements. This notion of movement runs throughout MessingerÕs work. His sculptures, such as 'Fame', reflect the dynamism of Italian Futurism, such as BocionniÕs 'Continuity of a Figure in Space', the attempted depiction of movement encapsulated in a still figure. This combination of elements, of a physical static figure embodying an emotional suggestion of kinetics, itself creates a dynamic tension. These sculptures are not self-contained. It is as if there is a body, an energy, expressively trying to get out. RodinÕs famous sculpture of Balzac embodies just such a dynamic energy, the strength of BalzacÕs character being barely contained in his cloaked enclosure. Yet, both Bocionni and Rodin are using figurative references to the human body. Somehow Messinger manages to portray this energy, this vibrant motion without any allusions to natural form. Again, in these sculptures, Jason Messinger has invented a language that magically provokes our reading of the work. These works suggest the form of a cat in a bag; yet, the artist never lets the cat out of the bag, leaving us somewhat mystified. Conceptually, this confusion leads to a creative act on the part of the viewer. In our bemusement we are led to continually rethinking the inner nature of the work. The notion of sculpture forming a duality between the container and the thing contained is manifested. The idea of motion is also embodied in the way that the three-dimensional works demand us to traverse through time, circling each piece in an attempt to gather a visual capsule of the whole. The multiple views of Thunder reproduced in this brochure present but a few angles of view, but still present the radical ever-changing personality of a single work. Rather than being self-contained, Thunder is a chimera, changing and shifting dramatically, it evades any attempt to have a singular memory of its being. The very evasiveness of this work, echoing our inability to capture it in a simple cage in our mind, is the core of its beauty. ItÕs a wild thing."
- Christopher Youngs,
Director of Freedman Gallery at Albright College, 2004...

Artist Collections

Chicago Public Library:Austin-Irving, Chicago, IL
Deloitte Chicago, IL
Lisle Hilton Hotel Lisle, IL
Raddison Lexington Hotel New York City , NY
Shriner's ChildrenÕs Hospital Oak Park, IL
Sweet Street Desserts Reading, PA
Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Hotel, Tianjin, China
Werner Design Assoc. San Francisco, CA
St. Alexian Hospital Hoffman Estates, IL
CompTIA Downers Grove, IL
Morgan Stanley Brea, CA

Mr & Mrs. Marvin Miller Reading, PA

Mrs. Susan Allen Hawthorne Woods, IL
Mr. Adam Altman Wyomissing, PA
Mr. Rick Baldwin Chicago, IL
Mr. Steven Barnes Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. A. Barr Chicago, IL
Ms. Elizabeth Beasley Atlanta, GA
Mr. Phil Bernal Chicago, IL
Mr. Ron Brown Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. Jay Carlson Seattle, WA
Mr. & Mrs. Capobianco Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Mr. Eric Calesini, Chicago, IL
Mr. T. Chaderjian Chicago, IL
Mr. Kevin Chappell Kihei, Maui, HI
Mrs. T. Chiang & Mr. M. Polsky Chicago, IL
Mr.Chittick & Mrs.Ostroff Santa Barbara, CA
Mr. Jim Churchman Reading, PA
Mr. Irv Cohen Reading, PA
Mr. & Mrs. N. Cooper Carlsbud, CA
Mr. Jay Denhart Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. John Disegi Reading, PA
Mr. Kenneth Dockery Kutzown, PA
Mr. Christopher Dovalina Chicago, IL
Mr. Brent Dykehouse Chicago, IL
Dr. Peter Faulhaber Shaker Heights, OH
Mr. Boots Fehr Reading, PA
Mr.& Mrs. R. Fisher Chicago, IL
Mr. Harlen Fleming Chicago, IL
Dr. Mary Forester Madison, WI
Mr. Garza & Mr. Izzo Chicago, IL
Ms. Cher Garrett Chicago, IL
Ms. Nicole Gotthelf Chicago, IL
Mr. J. Goldstein Chicago, IL
Mrs.D Spungin & Mr.S Levine Palm Beach, FL
Mr. & Mrs. H. Hafetz Reading, PA
Mr. Roland Hansen Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. Ryan Hart Chicago, IL
Ms Jessica Hoopis Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. S. Holstein Wilmette, IL
Ms. Allyson Hunter Chicago, IL
Mr. Brian Jenkins Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. James Jewel Toronto, Canada
Mr. Brendan Jones Oley, PA
Mr. & Mrs. Lee Kershner Reading, PA
Mr. David Katzenberg Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. R. Karsten Mansitee, MI
Mr. John Van Keulen Chicago, IL
Ms. Brett Knobel Chicago, IL
Mrs Diane LaBelle Bethlehem, PA
Mr. Derrick Lewis Chicago, IL
Mr. David Lojeski Chicago, IL
Ms. Kathleen Mallanda New York, NY
Mr.Manier & Mr.Mallerdino Chicago, IL
Mr. Steven Mauldin Chicago, IL
Mrs. Sicily Masciotti Reading, PA
Ms. Robin McCallister Chicago, IL
Mr. Christian McGrath Chicago, IL
Mr. C. Mitchel & Mr. G. Adams Chicago, IL
Mrs. & Mr. A. Murphy Chicago, IL
Ms. D. Moskalik Chicago, IL
Ms. Stephanie Oelsligle Chicago, IL
Ms. Barb Olaska Chicago, IL
Mr. Jon Peterson Chicago, IL
Mr. Jim Petrakis Chicago, IL
Mr. Jim Pinto Chicago, IL
Mr. Jim Puhl Chicago, IL
Mr. Michael Reid Chicago, IL
Ms. J. Roettig Shiller Park, IL
Ms. Fiona Cowan Ambler, PA
Mr. & Mrs. R. Rosenheck San Francisco, CA
Mr. & Mrs. S. Rosenheck Marina del Rey, CA
Ms. Linda Rueckert, Chicago, IL
Mr. E. Sanchez Honlulu, HI
Mr. M. Sauzenaar Chicago, IL
Mr. J. Schmitt Chicago, IL
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Schroter Seattle, WA
Ms. Ann Gallagher Chicago, IL
Ms. Randall Sharp New York, NY
Mr. & Mrs. D. Sherman Chicago, IL
Mr. Roberto Soto Chicago, IL
Ms Susan Rohn Reading, PA
The Solmon & Messinger Family Reading, PA
Mr. Anthony Stagg Chicago, IL
Mr. B.Young & Mrs. S. Strait Berkeley, CA
Mr.& Mrs.Yannis Toutziaridis Athens, Greece
Mr. & Mrs. Brian Trexler San Francisco, CA
Mr. Robert Vagnieres, Jr. Chicago, IL
Mr. George Viener Reading, PA
Mr. Jason Ward Chicago, IL
Dr. K. Wang Harvard
Dr. Gary Wegman Reading, PA
Mr. Bill White Indianapolis, IN
Mr. James R. Wilke Chicago, IL
Mr. Jason Williams Chicago, IL
Ms. Yvette Winstrom, Chicago, IL
Mr. Donald Woolf Oak Park, IL
Mr. Joey Wozniak Chicago, IL


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