Tessa Perutz

“When I travel, I draw like a maniac. I really feel this deep desire to capture and eventually mirror my surroundings back into the paintings. Maybe it has something to do with my bad memory and wanting to reflect my experiences—locking in those memories of a certain place, at a certain time.”

Tessa Perutz (b. 1988, Chicago, USA) creates colourful, exuberant landscapes paintings in which she explores the dialogue between nature and the human experience of it. 


In her work, nature is rendered as an experience of colour through paintings and drawings filled with interlocking flat plains of contrasting pastel tones and vibrant hues. Fields become striped beach towels rolling into the distance; softly rounded strokes of colour denote trees and shrubbery; mountains imitate geometric textile patterns. Though abstracted, these fragmented Fauvist forms slot together into harmonious compositions that sing with light and life. By reducing representation to its essence and drawing attention the beautifully balanced proportions within natural form, a sense of tranquillity is achieved. 


Perutz’s frequent travels and outdoor excursions across the US and Europe – from upstate New York and Oakland, California, to the Belgian countryside and the French Riviera – inform her landscapes, many of which are sketched ‘en plein air’. Her schematic designs depict recurring symbols and motifs which reference botanical properties such as the healing elements of lavender and hibiscus. This rumination on human sensorial interaction with nature is further emphasised through the use of sand or lavender buds sourced from the work’s location and mixed into the paint, and through the presentation of her work with floors covered in dried lavender and hibiscus tea served to exhibition visitors. Perutz goes beyond pure visual interpretation to bring the joys of the natural world to the viewer in physical, synaesthetic ways. 


Tessa Perutz lives and works between Brussels and New York. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and previously studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, in London. Perutz has exhibited throughout the US and Europe with recent solo exhibitions at: Baronian Gallery, Knokke BE, Taymour Grahne Projects (online), London UK, fiebach, minninger, Cologne DE, Avee Gallery, Kortrijk BE, and Baronian Xippas, Brussels BE, and group exhibitions at The Drawing Center, New York US, Magenta Plains, New York US, Baronian Xippas, Brussels BE, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp BE. 


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Fondation CAB, 2022

Artnet, 2020

The Washington Post, 2019

Artforum, 2018

Juxtapoz, 2018

Maake Magazine, 2018

Juxtapoz, 2017