Strokes of Genius Capture the Spirit of the Horse
Envision a two-story barn. The warm glow from inside casts faint, muted light beyond its windows. Movement, energy, the uninhibited motion of dance, captured in abbreviated glances. This is where you will find artist Jeffrey Terreson. This is where the magic happens. This is where the imagery flows.
Jeffrey Terreson draws his work from the legacy of abstract expressionism and the ideals of post-war artists such as Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, Larry Poons, and, more recently, Eugene Leroy. “A few weeks ago at Michael Werner Gallery in New York City I saw Eugene’s work…I was so very moved…amazing,” says Terreson. Merging the inspiration of these artists with his unique vision and aesthetic has led to breathtaking canvases, vibrant with color, depth, and a seductive tactile quality.
Terreson’s paintings encompass interpretive landscapes and skyscapes, but it is his captivating equine imagery that caused EQ to pause.
When asked why he is attracted to horses as a subject he responds, “It is their strong, graceful shapes and extraordinary personalities.” Horses enable him to explore painting in new ways. He tries to capture the essence of the animal by observing the subtle curves of a horse, combined with its fluid movement.
Living amidst horse farms for 50 years in Bedford, N.Y., has afforded Terreson the time and luxury of studying and observing the subtle nuances of these magnificent creatures. But Terreson doesn’t feel challenged by trying to represent any particular physical quality of a horse because he doesn’t attempt to render a horse literally. He finds the literal subject secondary. It is his abstraction — paired with dynamic color, texture, and light — that best describes his method of conveying the spirit of horses.
Terreson’s talent has not gone unnoticed. Fashion and home designer Ralph Lauren owns a painting. Terreson credits the sale to Lauren as a pivotal moment in his career. Fashion designer Joseph Abboud, collector Mary Ann Hawley, and luxury realtors Dan and Kate Ginnel, and others have been added to the impressive list.
The paintings include layers of rich textures and patterns built from encaustic wax, mixed media, and found objects. At times they are delightfully whimsical. The painting Mai conveys a subtle Asian feel, incorporating Japanese fans onto its surface. Even the background, which appears to be neutral, is a deeply translucent patina, allowing the horse to seemingly breathe and float.
Terreson’s passion for texture has taken his exploration into a realm far beyond fabric. Expect to see found objects, paper wrappings, antique glass, and silver ornamenting his canvases. In some cases, his surfaces are up to an inch thick.
His exploration runs in tandem with his talent, energy, and productivity. These are hard-earned, exciting times for Terreson. “There is a further responsibility and commitment to art than just producing pretty pictures,” he says. “Life allows one to find it, and thus my craft or voice becomes important to me, and indirectly to my collectors.” At times he may work on 5 to 10 paintings simultaneously, staying in the zone, typically at night when he is alone and undistracted by the demands of the day. He admits that he has even tried painting with his eyes closed to allow the organic flow of creativity. “I don’t have a job,” he says. “I have a love of family, friends, and art. It’s my love I spend time with.”
Terreson does accept commissions, which he approaches in two ways. He will create a modified, unique, version of an existing painting a client admires, or he will paint an original, non-literal interpretation of a specific horse.
Published Spring 2013