Tess Davies (formerly Erlenborn) is an artist from Nashville, TN. She graduated cum laude from Sewanee: The University of the South with a B.F.A under the honors program in 2014. Her studio practices include acrylic and oil painting, with a focus on natural textures, layered spaces and dualities. She takes inspiration from escapism and biological patterns and forms. 


My work explores dualities. It restructures familiar, natural objects into a composition of disparate parts. It combines intricate details found in natural textures, fluidity, and chaos. Stillness and movement, color and contrast, human and nature, and structure and looseness are all prevalent dualities in my work.

The purpose of my practice is to address various inevitabilities in life. I am inspired by escapism and utilize this coping mechanism in my work. I use natural symbolism and feminine tropes, seen in the color palette and various natural forms. Each natural component found in my compositions, has a different metaphorical significance, but common themes include decay, disease, growth, genetics, femininity, and repetition. I draw on personal issues and fears that bring people together, while simultaneously causing divides. I address what separates and connects us, and the cyclical nature of life and human tendencies.

I believe the painted, abstract beings represent our tendencies to compartmentalize and reveal personal anxieties in the way the patterns are isolated and contained.  They transition in and out of more abstract beings and more nature based compositions. This movement between the real and the imagined is representational of escapism. Creating these patterns, and repeating them intricately and deliberately, directly correlates to our repeated tendencies. It is also representative of the constant division of cells and growth found in the processes of decay and rebirth. By using natural metaphors, the purpose of this work is to beautify the inevitable.