Tess Erlenborn is an artist from Nashville, TN. She graduated cum laude from Sewanee: The University of the South with a B.F.A under the honors program in 2014. Her studio practices include acrylic and oil painting, with a focus on natural textures, layered spaces and dualities. She takes inspiration from escapism and biological patterns and forms. 

8/2018        Bongo Java Belmont Featured Artist
7/2018        Artwork Chosen for 2nd Ave Art Wall
5/2018        The Harding Art Show, Nashville TN
5/2018        Artist Grant by Metro Arts Nashville, Envision Nolensville
3/ 2018       Elliston Place Parking Garage Mural, Nashville Walls Project
11/2017       Ugly Mugs featured artist                                  
11/ 2017      The Nations Mural, contributing artist, Nashville Walls Project
10/2017       Montgomery Bell Academy Art Show
10-12/2017  Frothy Monkey featured artist
8/ 2017       What's At Hand, a solo exhibition
2/ 2017        featured artist, Smith & Lentz Brewing Co.
12/ 2016      Solo exhibition, Jackalope Brewing Co.
10/ 2016      Montgomery Bell Academy Art Show
6/2015         Playhouse, Corvidae Collective Gallery
7/ 2014        Whimsy, Parnassus bookstore in Nashville
5/2014         Honors exhibit, Catalyst, Edward Carlos Gallery


My work explores dualities. It restructures familiar, natural objects into a composition of disparate parts. It combines intricate details found in natural textures, fluidity, and chaos. Stillness and movement, color and contrast, human and nature, and structure and looseness are all prevalent dualities in my work.

The purpose of my practice is to address various inevitabilities in life. I am inspired by escapism and utilize this coping mechanism in my work. I use natural symbolism and feminine tropes, seen in the color palette and various natural forms. Each natural component found in my compositions, has a different metaphorical significance, but common themes include decay, disease, growth, genetics, femininity, and repetition. I draw on personal issues and fears that bring people together, while simultaneously causing divides. I address what separates and connects us, and the cyclical nature of life and human tendencies.

I believe the painted, abstract beings represent our tendencies to compartmentalize and reveal personal anxieties in the way the patterns are isolated and contained.  They transition in and out of more abstract beings and more nature based compositions. This movement between the real and the imagined is representational of escapism. Creating these patterns, and repeating them intricately and deliberately, directly correlates to our repeated tendencies. It is also representative of the constant division of cells and growth found in the processes of decay and rebirth. By using natural metaphors, the purpose of this work is to beautify the inevitable.

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