Tenesh Webber, Untitled 14, 2019

Tenesh Webber, Untitled 14, 2019, charcoal pencil on Stonehenge paper, 7 x 7 in. image size, 13 x 11 in.

Tenesh Webber works in media that combine extreme focus with chance. Webber concerns herself with shapes and their relationships, progression, problem solving, movement, and stasis. She makes photograms of structures containing found objects, sequins and Japanese beading thread, bridging photography and nonobjective art. Externally, her work resembles Minimalist abstract art, but Webber is not interested in depicting space, to her the background is neutral. The work centers on composing darkroom situations that will create intended but unexpected results; thus, working minimally, or abstractly, allows for her greater goal: improvisation.

At a time when Webber did not have access to a darkroom, she began making drawings with a limited palette and slight gradations in tone using charcoal, drafting, and colored pencils on paper. Reducing choice via a typewriter template that makes only an oblong, a tiny oblong, and an ellipse, Webber glories in the inexhaustible number of possible iterations, while curbing that number through the hands-on act of drawing. Like water that overtakes stone, chance will have its say: smudges and blurs create layers and movement, order is suspended, and Webber is set free.

Part of Passing Bittersweet, a 2020 exhibition at the Williams Center Gallery. Find more of Tenesh Webber’s work on her website.