Opening Reception: Thursday, June 2, 6–8 pm
Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Seattle-based artist Whiting Tennis.
Whiting Tennis made the works in this exhibition during his residency at the Provincetown Tennis Club in Massachusetts last Fall. He worked quietly, guided by the metronomic cadence of tennis balls flying back and forth across clay courts. Late summer breezes and cool coastal evenings induced a waking dream-state, while the irregular yet sustained rhythm of the balls maintained a sort of mantra, stretching out the working moments like a pacemaker on jazz.
Just before Tennis set out for Provincetown, he received a gift: an immense, polychromatic cache of vintage pastels. The volume and variety of these beautiful old pastels inspired him to draw more, draw larger, and with colors that he never had the nerve to touch. While Tennis had previously rendered works in subdued monochromes, dulled greens and gray blues, the range of pigments in the new pastel set challenged the artist to create fresh, vivacious iterations of his traditional forms.
Tennis often employs the automatic drawing process. A practice as old as artmaking itself, the crayon is allowed to roam the paper freely, like the cursor of an Ouija board, summoning shapes and ideas from which to motivate paintings and sculpture. Automatic drawing acts as a window into the world of dreams, totems, the anthropomorphic and the zoomorphic, as well as the home of the personal and the collective myth. This transitional body of work is a result of the confluence of this practice, a wonderful September on the Cape, and a small mountain of pastels.
Whiting Tennis (b. 1959) has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Northwest Arts, La Conner, WA, the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY and Hallie-Ford Museum of Art, Salem OR. He has been included in recent group shows Indie Folk at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, WSU and Light and Graphite, Studio e, Seattle, WA. His work is included in public collections such as the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR and the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA. This will be Whiting Tennis’s sixth exhibition with the gallery.