HENRY HESS

Artist's reception; April 1st, 2016, 6-9pm
Drawing, cutting, assembling, taping, building, and toting art - these actions fill the days of Henry Hess, a Columbus, Ohio teenager. Hess is extraordinary in many ways. His inspirations are not what you would expect from someone so young, and his obsessive attention to detail is truly remarkable. Henry rarely speaks. He takes in his surroundings in full, but his observations do not come out in the form of speech. Instead, his language is largely visual.  Henry Hess is an artist with autism and he has been using drawing as a primary means of communicating his identity for most of his life. Despite living his entire life in the new millennium, his tastes are decidedly 20th century. He surrounds himself with the characters of classic movies, mostly musicals. His paper drawings of these figures travel with him to school, to bed, and everywhere in between. His parents procured a working space for him outside the home in an effort to alleviate the infestation of characters in their house. It was a failed mission of sorts. Hess utilizes the space to create, but he and his paper figures are nomadic. He struggles to consolidate the numerous bags he carries. As his army of characters grows, so do his totes. Some of his creations are so well loved that they have been worn to the point of tatters, beyond recognition to anyone but Hess.  Yet he clings to them, occasionally performing some tape surgeries to resurrect these old friends.