''There is an underlying purity to be found in Tess Williams’ resolutely contemporary conception of new abstraction. Yet, the surfaces of her paintings reveal something more layered: gritty textures, exposed staples, the cutting and reconstructing of canvas and in some works delicate stitching.
Traces of the artist’s mark lie visible on tactile planes in areas of peeling and scraped away pigment, imprinted marks, and calligraphic lines of paint. Pieces of frayed and raw canvas are artfully combined with monochromatic areas of grey and black as well as lighter fleshy tones that refer to the human body.
In each work the artist plays with the sculptural qualities of deconstructed canvas, pushing the medium further by creating a newly topographic surface. Williams notes: “This contrast explores the relationship between the male and female properties of materials, and how when juxtaposed, they can form a dynamic visual language.”
Through a mastery of surface and composition, Williams’ paintings imaginatively balance idioms from mid-century abstraction with contemporary urban references and the mark of the artist in the atelier. This virtuosic use of tone, texture and a sculptural sensibility of canvas, color and form make Williams’ work a significant contribution to twenty-first century artistic reimagining of the tenets of abstraction.''
Rosa JH Berland
Curator, Writer & Historian
New York, USA
Via Aleph Contemporary
''Tess Williams progressively unravels the soundness of established concepts, treating pictorial tradition as a field of action where she can break down codes. Uprooting the cloth from its structural support, roaming the formless desert of vision to un-conceal the pure physicality of matter.
Materials are subjected to actions like being sewn, stapled, nailed, stretched, folded, wrinkled, layered and cut, in a grammar of formal impermanence, of inside and outside, of the arrival of space or the departure of its volumetrics.
Williams observes how everything vibrates in tonal nuances that permeate events like sensitive over-abundance. Every texture is an emotion, a spontaneous hapticity that speaks of untold micro-stories, of the memories of linen, of the delays of cotton, of the tangled sluggishness of hessian. Every fabric is denuded and becomes a temporal sponge that absorbs the colour of our stories until it unfolds like a sheet stained with silent marks, or a skin deciphered by play and beauty.''
Independent Curator & Writer