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About

Tessa Coleman is a figurative painter who uses representational subject matter to explore formal painterly concerns of spatial, tonal and colour relationships and picture geometry.

Since 2002 she has exhibited regularly at the Threadneedle Art Prize, the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the New English Art Club Annual Exhibitions, amongst other exhibitions both in the UK and internationally. She was the recipient of the New English Art Club's Cecil Jospe Prize in 2009, A New York Academy of Art Scholarship in 2014, and In 2010 she was elected to membership of the New English Art Club. She was awarded the New York Academy of Art Giverny Residency in 2015.

Tessa's artistic education includes a Figurative Painting Diploma from Heatherleys completed in 2002, following a Mathematics Degree from Exeter University and a previous career as a Japanese Fund Manager in London and Tokyo. In Autumn 2016 she returned to to live in Somerset after spending two years in New York, where she completed a Masters Degree in Fine Art at the New York Academy of Art.

"My painting is about finding the visual poetry in my everyday world. My picture ideas come from many sources, but are normally visually led and have a strong sense of spatial construction embedded within them. They often start with a glance that stops me in my tracks, usually based on unexpected shape, scale or colour juxtapositions. Some recent starts have included the unexpected pairing of traffic light and tree set against the distant skyscapers of Manhattan, the double shadows of a stag's skull against a white wall, the mirror reflection of an eccentric Japanese teapot, rushing figures in a sunlit street. My subject matter can be close at hand, small scale and intimate, or vast and distant, depending on how I perceive my environment at the time. In other words: lemon, city, or both. 

My first degree was in Pure Mathematics and spatial and geometric organization and pattern are pretty deep rooted with me. The more spatial and geometric relationships, rhymes and patterns I see in an image before starting to paint, the stronger the final work normally is. Living in New York for the last two years has been a visual feast and adventure. The city's strong formal layout with the ubiquitous grid, its unexpected and vertiginous perspectives both at street level and high up in the sky, the vivid and intense colours everywhere and the high bright seaside light have made a huge impression on me, and I have tried to capture the abstract qualities of the city's colour, light, pace and sense of space in my more recent paintings." 

For more details on exhibitions past and future please see the Exhibitions and News pages.