I had the chance to meet the artist Tess Williams about a week ago in her studio at the Bomb Factory Art Foundation in London. Freshly graduated from a MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, Tess is exploring through her work the physicality of painting, where painting ends and sculpture starts. When some will see an installation or a sculpture while looking at her work, Tess insists on the fact that they are paintings, a challenging medium she always had interest for.
What attracted me to her work was the very contemporary way she approaches the idea of painting, the manner she experiments different materials to give a strong physical presence to her work, and the way she is questioning the intrinsic value of painting while pushing the boundaries to create a new form of painting.
When I look at contemporary art, I want to see the gesture of the artist, I want to feel a physical connexion with the art, that is why I always admire artists who are curious enough to research and incorporate different materials into their work. Tess uses raw materials like canvas, linen, or cotton to work with, she sews, she folds, she stretches, and even blows up the paintings. She never uses already made fabric, she always paints them with oil, acrylic, oil sticks, pastel, ink, or bleach. Her paintings tell you stories, they are interesting to engage with as there is several reading levels due to the fact that she likes to work with transparency which gives her paintings even more depth.
Where does she find her inspiration? In life. Even though she admits that books or internet researches are essential, she gets inspired by what she sees and what she does. Connecting and engaging with her surroundings and with people, it is something we can really feel from her art. As she said it herself she is a “doer” , she learns from the action and from the process, that’s maybe why her work is so organic, sensitive, generous, beautifully imperfect and vibrant.
I really invite you to discover this young artist who is not afraid to think outside of the frame, and who have a wonderful instinct when it comes to experimenting materials.
Don’t forget to join the artist on Instagram (@tess_williams_artist) for daily updates.