I found Jason Tennant’s wood sculptures while doing a bit of research for a new art web site I was creating for a client. Amazing work like “Nike of the Forest” immediately caught my attention:
I wanted to learn more about this sculpture, so I searched some more. I found Jason’s web site (too much out of date, according to Jason), and wrote him a note, requesting his permission to highlight some of his work on this blog. For the most up-to-date work, look at Jason’s Facebook page, Jason Tennant Sculpture & Painting, and also his Etsy Shop at JASON TENNANT wildlife art , nature art, wood sculpture. A word of caution: be prepared to fall in love with his work, his technique, and the allegory in much of his work.
A few days after I wrote him, Jason replied, and even followed up with a call. I found him easy-going, and totally focused. We talked for a while about his work, his background and training, his travels to South America, and about his Etsy Shop. I asked Jason if he had something in writing that I could use for this article, as I did not want to wrongly put words in his mouth when referring to his work. He sent me the following about Nike of the Forest and The Call Series of sculptures (you can read the entire Press Release by clicking here):
…There are two predominant themes of these works. “The Nike of the Forest” is an appropriation of the Greek sculpture “Winged Victory of Samothrace” and applied as an expression of the resiliency of nature to human impact.
The second theme, entitled “The Call” is an expression of an ephemeral experiences that one is exposed to when immersed in nature…
…There are two main physical elements to each sculpture in this series, the centerpiece and the wings… The centerpieces are old roots and trunks of American Chestnut trees. I have foraged these rot resistant remnants from the hills of the Finger Lakes in New York State. These diseased trees had been cut down in the 1930’s in an effort to save the species from extinction...
The wings are carved from hemlock that I carefully choose and carve so that the exposed grain is book-matched for symmetry and mimics plumage patterns of wild birds. The finishing work is an additive and subtractive process I have been developing for 18 years, and have applied it to other expressions in my art…
Extracted from Press Release
Tennant’s work has a quality that immediately appeals to the sense of touch. I found myself wanting to touch the sculptures in the Nike series; the plumage looks so real that I imagined the smoothness of each feather; but I also felt the power of the sinuous curves and crevasses of the body. Each sculpture in the series conveys a slightly different haunting and emotional message, possibly the result of the lighting casting shadows on the wall. Soon I found myself not even thinking chestnut or hemlock; instead I was thinking clouds, a rush of air, and a faceless creature that I will probably meet in my dreams.
For several years Jason taught at the BOCES school in Fairport, NY; this was a terrific way to contribute to the development of young children, and also his personal development to refine his technique. He quit teaching seven years ago, to pursue his passion full time.
Jason stays busy, as attested by his commitment to hold a one-man show in September 2011. He posted on Facebook in December 2010:
Invited for a solo exhibition at the new Arts Center in Old Forge. The space next to me will be the prestigious “Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors”
September will be a busy month w/ the Rustics Expo at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.
Also in December 2010, he held an open studio exhibit, all the while continuing carving and sculpture work on several wonderful series. And only one week ago he posted on Facebook that he has a new commission, this time to do a sculpture for the Etsy office in Brooklyn. In September 2011 Tennant’s work will be highlighted in Cowboys & Indians Magazine.
38 Cloverland Drive
Rochester, NY 14610
Jason sent me the following photos to share on the blog — from the Nike of the Forest theme; please click on the first image to enlarge (you will be able to navigate through the entire series):