Tennyson Corley(b.1988) is a contemporary artist residing in the heart of South Carolina. Raised by an illustrator, Corley attended Columbia College for Fine Art. However her path proved to have more twist and turns than originally planned. She took a leave from school after battling meningitis during her sophomore year. Set on her art dreams, she began showing professionally in 2010. Tennyson interned for CHI Indigo Design, an indigo textile company based in South Carolina. Yearning for more connection to her environment, Tennyson became a certified master gardener and permaculturalist. This led to influencing her current body of work. She was selected for Artist In Residence for Oconee County Parks in 2020 and in 2022 worked on a public art piece for South Carolina Audubon Society. She continues to hone her style in painting and ceramics while working out of her studio on her small farm. Here she lives with her husband, son, and small zoo of animals.
Ceramic Illustrations Artist Statement
My childhood has led me to my current body of work. I am the product of an illustrator who chose books based on the beauty of the illustrations. I have continued this collection. Referencing characters and ideas for my own work. I grew up surrounded by animals on our farm. Studying them, the ways animals interact and coexsist among each other, how species intermingled, the hierarchies that arose. I gave them personalities in my mind. Constructing back stories and human characteristics for each one. Fast forward to 2018, when I took my first pottery class which landed me with a membership at a pottery studio. I began to find what my artistic practice was craving. It took me back to my childhood, constructing animals out of playdoh and drying them on my shelf. In a full circle moment, I combined my love for childrens book illustrations, building back stories for the creatures around me, and moving from playdoh to clay to create, what I call, my ceramic illustrations. Each sculpture is a mix of Beatrice Potter and an Orwellian Animal Farm character. Conceptualized in my mind, were I work out their features, back stories, faults, and qualities. Then, through my hands, they are birthed into life through earthen clay, underglazes, and the fire of the kiln.
Paintings Artist Statetment
My work is inspired by flora, fauna, and bold color. Drawing on the environment's natural forms, textures, and my dream-state memories, I weave them into each piece to achieve a balance between realism and abstraction. Working intuitively creating vibrant, abstracted suggestions of my surroundings while informing the viewer of its fragility. My art is influenced by my own explorations of natural areas, research of environmental issues, and my primary focus, birds. Birds are an indicator of the health of a particular ecosystem.Rather than focusing on loss of habitat, I highlight specific species and their unique environments. My intent is to evoke memories and the sense of place and time, while protraying the uninterupted cycles exsisting throughout the natural world. Through my work, I hope to inspire others to more deeply explore their local environments and become invested in the health of its complex ecosystrems.