|"A Year in Fort Worth", an exhibition of new paintings by James Tennison, will be on display March 24–April 14, at Galerie Kornye West. An opening reception will be held on Spring Gallery Night, Saturday, March 24, 2:00–9:00 p.m. The show will mark the end of a yearlong project wherein the artist was invited by gallery owner Paula Kornye Tillman to paint the geography, people, and cultural events of Fort Worth. A catalog of the paintings will accompany the exhibition. Of the project, Paula Kornye Tillman comments, “What I truly value about James Tennison is the infectious enthusiasm he brought to depicting Fort Worth. As a Fort Worth native, I have a new appreciation for Fort Worth’s beauty and culture.”
A Year in Fort Worth documents Tennison’s experiences in the city over the course of 2011. A consummate realist, the artist focuses on capturing the pure spirit and form of each subject through naturalistic representation, vibrant color palettes, and the transformative effects of light. In this manner, Tennison achieves not only verisimilitude, but also a sense of empathy. Portraits of people and animals, landscapes, and scenes of the city all come to life in this comprehensive visual collection about life in Fort Worth.
Subject matter for this series includes such popular Fort Worth attractions as Sundance Square, the Main Street Arts Festival, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, the Juneteenth Celebration, the Stock Show, and Bass Performance Hall. Highlighting the artistic wealth of the city, Tennison painted various scenes focusing on musicians, as well as two series of dancers, featuring members of Ballet Folklorico Azteca de Fort Worth and Texas Ballet Theater—a collection that was exhibited in Bass Performance Hall in conjunction with the company’s performance of Giselle in October. Working from his studio and en plein air, Tennison sought to capture the brilliant and sometimes elusive natural light surrounding the city. Such studies appear in paintings of the Fort Worth skyline, ducks on the Trinity River, the Cultural District Hawks, First United Methodist Church, and a nighttime scene of the Haltom’s clock at 6th and Main.
Tennison calls this unique body of work a “celebration about Fort Worth and its people, its culture and diversity, and the arts…” He further emphasizes the rich material and inspiration present in our own space but often overlooked: “I think sometimes we think we have to travel abroad or to exotic places to find wonderful, beautiful subject matter; but, it’s right here.” Certainly, Tennison has mined Fort Worth’s intrinsic brilliance, intrigue, and natural beauty to great effect.
The artist has documented the entire project on his blog, which offers a behind-the-scenes look into the artist’s process through journal entries, sketches, and video. His son, Justin Tennison, produced the documentary segments using video and a time-lapse camera. Visit http://ayearinfortworth.blogspot.com for more information and to trace Tennison’s progress throughout the year.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Acclaimed artist James Tennison has exhibited work in galleries throughout Texas and nationally, in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City, to name a few. He has taught and lectured at various universities, and has offered private instruction as well. A highly sought-after portraitist, Tennison has received commissions from clients across the United States, as well as in England. He painted the official portrait of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, and has also painted portraits for the National Institutes of Health, Southern Methodist University, Texas Instruments, and Frito Lay, among others.
His many awards include the Margery Soroka Memorial Award for Watercolor, Salmagundi Club, New York City; Best of Show, Campfire USA Plein Air Paint Out, Fort Worth; Gold Medal, Dallas Society of Visual Communications; and Gold and Silver Medals, New York Society of Illustrators. His work has been featured in various publications, among them the Best of Portrait Painting by North Light Books, International Artist Magazine, and annuals published by Communication Arts and the New York Society of Illustrators.
James Tennison received a BFA from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an additional BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He currently resides in downtown Fort Worth.