Tessa Coleman NEAC’s work is about finding the visual interest in the world around her.
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 experienced whilst living in New York led to an investigation into different perspectival systems and new ways of dealing with spatial issues in her work.
Method of Working
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 the final image to be bold, arresting, to read up close and at a distance, and to work both as a window into space as well as an abstract design.