Tessa Dallarosa holds a BFA from the University of Wyoming in Laramie and BAs in philosophy and sociology from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Prior to her move to Chicago, Tessa worked for the University of Wyoming Art Museum as curator of the Ann Simpson Artmobile, a statewide outreach program which entailed curating exhibits to share with share with people living in isolated, rural communities. Etching press in tow, Tessa spent an average of two weeks each month on the open road. As a counterpoint to her itinerant lifestyle and hotel-based art making, Tessa is now happily making art in her downtown Chicago studio. Her current practice currently revolves around drawing, printmaking, installation, and artist books. 

Personal Statement

Pattern is a recurrent theme in my work appearing in the form of decorative patterning, patterns of thought (epistemologies) and geometrical patterns. Currently I find myself pondering a constellation of ideas, which includes biology and botany, environmental sustainability and art social practice, order, chaos and the handmade. Sorting, arranging and superimposing are as integral to my practice as the mechanics of printing, drawing and painting. I am constantly making, unmaking and remaking. The iterative nature of my work coincides with the idea that while meaning may escape our pinpoint, it can be pointed to with an appreciation for absurdity, struggle, deliberation, humor, and play.

In my current body of work, I am exploring how unpredictable patterns arise from the incremental buildup of small, repeated marks. Initially I establish rules to which I attempt to adhere. Necessarily the handmade mark is imperfect and the combination of rule and aberration ultimately leads to complex forms. This mirrors the concept of emergence in science, systems theory and philosophy whereby patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. The method itself, begun as small, focused and deliberate becomes large, meditative and fluid. The seemingly unmediated psychological space achieved through meditative drawing enables the contemplation of disparate ideas.   I am attracted to ways of knowing which synthesize philosophy and science with art through metaphors and materiality of tangling, untangling and weaving.

I am always searching for ideas and intuitions which ring true, albeit momentarily. As such, reading and listening to audiobooks greatly inform my practice. Currently, I am seeking parallels between Gregory Bateson's Ecology of Mind, Agnes Martin's Writings, Evelyn Fox Keller’s A Feeling for the Organism.

The relationship between image and text, visual language and written language is another motivating force in my work. When images and words appear together, the nature of their relationship is generally that of explanation—images illustrate text or text describes image. I am interested in understanding non-linear narrative and consider my text-based pieces alluding to the philosophical concept of difference, the idea that meaning is comparative, messy and mutating.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.