Resident Magazine sat down with internationally acclaimed artist Jeffrey Terreson at his gallery in Beacon, New York. Terreson’s stunning artwork can be found around the world in leading corporate art collections, including NBC, Mobil Oil, and the United Nations to private collectors such as Ralph Lauren.
In this interview with Eiman Aziz, Executive Director of Art Beyond Advisory and curator of Terreson’s recent show at the Bedford Historical Hall, Terreson immerses us in his love of texture, dimension, and a driving belief that there’s always more going on in life…both above and below the surface.
EIMAN AZIZ: Congratulations on your 5th successful Biennial Art Exhibition at The Bedford Historical Hall. My most immediate observation of your work is that your beautiful art rises from the surface of the canvas. Tell me about that.
JEFFREY TERRESON: For me, there have always been other dimensions apart from what you can put down with a brush. I use oils in a way that allows me to come off the surface. This came about as I was working on the bodies of horses in my paintings. I would start building up the textures on their backs. And when you begin to explore this imagery you realize that’s the painting. The horse is not the painting.
EA: Even your pure paint pieces have incredible texture.
JT: As I was painting against the wall, whatever fell on the floor, I’d look down and say, “Oh, I have to save my scrapings.” This expanded into even more texture and mixed media.
EA: So, are you open to using any found objects in your approach?
JT: If inspired and deemed appropriate, yes. I don’t use things superficially just to be different. I would use it if I felt it had purpose.
EA: How about old jeans?
JT: Well, I haven’t yet. But I do have plenty of them. [laughter]
EA: You have a wonderful studio and gallery space here in the Hudson Valley. With worldwide visitors, what’s one of your most memorable experiences?
JT: I’ve had several, and they’ve all been highly emotional. When you see people interact with and be moved by my art…it’s incredibly powerful.
In one case, a 78-year-old painter from Spain visited. He said, “I have never seen such beautiful work in my life.” He began crying. We both sat down together and it struck me for days.
EA: It must take enormous emotion and commitment to create at such a strong pace.
JT: With the work I do is, there’s an authenticity to it that keeps you moving forward. Today, I was dancing while painting.
EA: Really! To what song?
JT: Oh, I was dancing to my artwork. [laughs] Well, my dances can always be seen at the gallery, they’re on the wall! Each of my paintings has their own song.
EA: What new dimensions does the future hold for you?
JT: I will be exhibiting at The China National Museum of Contemporary Art and Shenzhen Art Museum. I’m also excited to incorporate large-scale pieces of artwork.
EA: Chagall said that some of the most beautiful relationships throughout his life were with his art. Do you have a relationship with each painting?
JT: Very much so. Art has been my longest relationship. Love and hate. But in the last 20 years – just madly in love with each other.
You have to allow true emotion to naturally rise to the surface that you’re creating on. And in my case, I suppose, allow it to rise even beyond the surface.