reviews > Knoxville, TN

4 April 2008 6:27 PM

Jean Hess constructs the kind of objects one dreams of finding in an antique curio shop but never, ever will: meticulous, poignant fragments of the past, remnants of magical childhood experiences. The reason these artifacts could never be chanced upon is that they demand the most reticent, particular of constructions, the slightest of additions and selections: a mint green circle here, a sky blue rectangle there. Here a blossom, there a geometrical diagram. Hess layers these and other unexpected layers atop pages torn from old textbooks and notebooks, pages on which long-lost children scrawled mean graffiti and warring doodles. Sometimes these new combinations create seemingly legible narratives, sometimes fantastical collapses of time and space, as if from the inner child of today all the way back to the one of yesteryear.

—Lori Waxman