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 painting, watercolor, and ink drawing, with a focus on natural textures, layered spaces and dualities, and the imagination. She takes inspiration from escapism and natural metaphors found in fairytales and storybooks. She is available for custom commissions and mural work.
5/2014 Honors exhibit, Catalyst, Edward Carlos Gallery
7/ 2014 Whimsy, Parnassus bookstore in Nashville
6/2015 Playhouse, Corvidae Collective Gallery
10/ 2016 Montgomery Bell Academy Art Show
12/ 2016 Solo exhibition, Jackalope Brewing Co.
2/ 2017 featured artist, Smith & Lentz Brewing Co.
7/2017 featured artist, Portland Brew in East Nashville.
8/ 2017 What's At Hand, a solo exhibition
10/2017 Montgomery Bell Academy Art Show
10-12/2017 Frothy Monkey featured artist
11/2017 Ugly Mugs featured artist
11/ 2017 The Nations Mural, contributing artist to group project
My work explores dualities. It restructures familiar, natural objects into a composition of disparate parts. It is a combination of the intricate details found in natural textures, fluidity, and chaos. The colorful, complex beings against a void or somewhat transparent background, allows the compositions to float. 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 question our familiarity with our realities and address various inevitabilities in life. I am inspired by escapism and utilize this coping mechanism in my work. I draw from natural symbolism found in storybooks and fairytales and biology book illustrations. Each natural component found in my compositions, has a different metaphorical significance, but common themes include decay, growth, 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.
As my work grows, I wish to further explore biology, specifically disease and genetics, and mental health. I believe the painted, abstract beings represent our tendencies to compartmentalize and reveal personal anxieties in the way they are isolated and contained in otherwise void spaces. 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.