Whiting Tennis' assemblages communicate empathy for the worn and neglected, for the histories engrained in objects and structures. Beginning with free-hand geometric sketches, his paintings employ wood-block prints and collage to transmute human and animal figures into architectural forms. Sculptural works, created with utilitarian materials such as plywood and plaster, are similarly anthropomorphized. Flesh becomes solid, impenetrable, doorless, windowless, shut tight to the world, while the surfaces, the skin, bear the patina of age and experience.
Works such as Hybrid, Droopy, and Glum evoke both the masculine romanticism of lone figures in desolate landscapes and the endearing quality of the battered and vulnerable. Tennis' compositions contain a brooding solitude and an awkward geometry of clashing planes and collapsing depths. Meticulously cobbled together, the shifting planes and shuffling perspective nod to Cezanne, Schwitters, and Cubism--the giants of Modernity meet American made-in-the-shed familiarity. With dexterity and formal rigor, Tennis's assemblages employ workaday materials to generate a rustling, deeply human world.
Whiting Tennis lives and works in Seattle, Washington and has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. He recently had his first solo museum show at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. This will be his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.