Ben Messick: Artist of the American Scene
May 12 thru July 13, 2005

Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery

7 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Contact, Edward Cella
Phone, (805) 730-1460, Fax: (805) 730-1462

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Open Daily, 10am-5:30pm
A portfolio sampling of Ben Messick may be viewed at the gallery's Web site,

Ben Messick, "Washday #2", ca. 1930's, charcoal on paper, 32 x 38 inches.

BEN MESSICK (1891-1981)

My pictures are complete in a way that suggests each one is a small segment of life as a whole.
-Ben Messick

Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery presents Ben Messick (1891-1981) an exhibition of paintings and works on paper that document American life.

Ben Messick was born near Stafford, Missouri in 1891.  After serving in France during World War I, he enrolled at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles and later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  Messick later returned to Chouinard where he taught life drawing from 1943 to 1951.  His works were well exhibited across the country, including a show at the United States Museum (Smithsonian) in Washington, D.C. in 1944.

Messick's works are rich in narrative, focusing on the everyday lives of lower and middle class Americans.  Although his art is a mix of Regionalism and Social Realism, Messick's works can neither be described as political or nostalgic.  Like his contemporaries who painted in the Social Realist or Ash Can School tradition, Messick depicted daily events of the "Everyday Joe," however, he avoided incorporating social commentary into his pieces.  He treated his subjects with dignity, but he did not glorify them.

Messick was a gifted artist, capable of remarkable insight into his characters. His works reflect the society of America during the often- tumultuous years between the Depression and World War II.  His works are considered a valuable reflection and reminder of America's cultural history.  

Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery is pleased to announce Ben Messick: Artist of the American Scene an exhibition featuring brilliant oils and works on papers by the talented painter, printmaker and draftsman.  Sullivan Goss represents the estate of Ben Messick and this exhibition marks the first time many of Messick's pieces have been viewed by the public.

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