In the work of Tenesh Webber, the interplay between technical control and chance manipulations is a central element. Working within a minimalist sensibility and aligned with improvisational abstraction, Webber takes the controlled structure of the grid as a starting point and then allows unplanned operations to direct the outcome. Using a process that blurs the boundaries among sculpture, drawing, and photography, Webber manipulates and layers Japanese beading thread to create a grid, which is then placed onto photographic paper and exposed to light. In the resulting image, called a photogram, white lines are set against a seemingly endless black field. Although the image is fixed, the disruption to the network of filaments creates a sense of impermanence, of structures distorted, but unbroken.
Curators Statement, Tamar Zinn, "Explorations of Line", Garrison Art Center, Garrison N.Y. 2018
In conceptualizing the photographic work, I make multiple small sketches in a notebook, which help me, through their different iterations, to explore formal possibilities. These drawings have been a part of my conceptual process, yet in the past they were not made for exhibition.
In 2018, I decided to further elaborate these small sketches, and so began to make drawings on 100% rag, Stonehenge paper, using pencils, erasers and stencils. In the drawings, I set a goal of making abstract images that develop the ideas that I have long focused on photographically; the grid, depth and shadow, movement and stasis.
In the process of making these, my drawing vocabulary has developed apace with my intention to use the drawing process as its own medium through extensive research. For example, I have explored a wide range of pencil grades, used erasers to create layers, and often have smudged the images with a variety of tools. I have purchased groups of pencils, that replicate the use of light and shadow in my photograms, some are soft, others are in groups of greys.
In 2021, I introduced printmaking into my practice, creating my first group of silkscreen prints. The silkscreens begin with a careful selection from my my photogram images. I then use these as a foundation for the prints. Printmkaing offers me the opportunity to explore colour, layering, and develop my own approach to experimental printmaking.
I have sought to bring the same spirit of chance exploration of media/mediums to my prints and drawings as I have over the years to my photographic processes.