Tessa’s work is about finding the visual interest in the world around her. Her picture ideas come from many sources, but are normally visually led. They usually start with a glance that stops her in her tracks, often based on unexpected shape or colour juxtapositions. Some recent starts have included the unexpected pairing of traffic light and tree set against the distant skyscrapers, shadows of a stag’s skull, rushing figures in the sunlit street. The subject matter can be close at hand and intimate, or vast and distant, in other words lemon, city or both. The vertiginous and unexpected perspectives Tessa has experienced whilst living in New York the last two years has led to an investigation into perspectival systems and how to deal with spatial issues in new ways in her painting.
Drawing is critical to Tessa’s working process and is how she explores her ideas and develops her compositions. The structural and formal qualities of the image are key. Her first degree was in pure mathematics, and geometric organization and pattern are pretty deep rooted in her work. The more relationships, rhymes and patterns she sees in an image before starting to paint the stronger the final work normally is.
She likens the messy and very unscientific process of beginning a painting to sculpting in shape and colour, constantly adjusting and fine tuning until the image comes together and the parts add up to a cohesive and well structured whole. The all too elusive goal is for this whole to be bold and decisive, subtle, arresting, read at a distance and up close, work as a window and a wall.
1964 Born in Hampshire
2002 Figurative Painting Diploma from Heatherleys following a Pure Mathematics Degree from Exeter University in 1985, and a previous career as a Japanese Fund Manager in London and Tokyo
2010 Elected to membership of the New English Art Club
2014 Moved to New York to do a Masters in Fine Art at the New York Academy Of Art
2015 New York Academy of Art Giverny Summer Residency Award
2014 Scholarship for New York Academy of Art two year Masters Programme
2009 Cecil Jospe Prize, New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition
2015 David Zwirner Friends Seminary Art Exhibition
2015 Sothebys New York Take Home A Nude Exhibition
2014 Russell Gallery Summer and Winter Shows
2014 Moorwood Art Summer and Winter Shows, London and Somerset
2013 Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition
2013 Jenna Burlingham Fine Art
2013 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize
2013 Still Alive, Twenty Still Life Painters at the Mall Galleries
2012 Russell Gallery Summer and Winter Shows
2012 Moncreiffe Bray Autumn Show
2009 Josie Eastwood Fine Art Summer Exhibition
2009 Lynn Painter Stainers Art Prize
2008 The Threadneedle Art Prize, Mall Galleries