Alex Williams’ documentary short, Messy Middle, revisits artist Preston Zeller, who was spotlighted in the 2022 documentary The Art of Grieving. In that film, to cope with his brother’s death, Zeller pledges to paint one abstract painting every day for an entire year. In the end, we are presented with a touching and heartfelt mosaic honoring his brother.
“…follows Zeller from the opening blank canvas and quickly goes through the process of creating abstract art.”
Now, time has passed, and Zeller is tasked with painting a 10-foot by 4.5-foot abstract painting for a client. The painting will become the titular Messy Middle. Documentarian Williams follows Zeller from the opening blank canvas and quickly goes through the process of creating abstract art. It includes everything from the mixing of colors, the selection of various brushes, and both the violent and detailed nature of applying paint. Within the chaotic nature
Messy Middle harkens back often to footage and the themes presented in The Art of Grieving. It acts as a primer of sorts. Though it teases the heart and soul of the original film, we are given a comprehensive crash course into abstract art and how it can speak for the artist within the random nature of the art form that it’s known (or misunderstood) for.
For more information about Messy Middle, visit The Art of Grieving’s official website.
"…how [abstract art] can speak for the artist within the random nature of the art form..."