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Tamara Krendel

I'm fascinated with natural life forms, both flora and fauna, and am awestruck at the stark and beautiful otherness which exists in the world around us.


I received BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania where I studied with Rackstraw Downes, an important mentor. Honors and awards include Yale-Norfolk, Skowhegan, a YADDO residency and a Fulbright Grant. A renewable Belgian Ministry of Dutch Culture Grant allowed me to pursue a year of independent post-graduate painting in Belgium. I concentrated on the unique light and space that informed the Northern Renaissance and how the landscape and weather affected the collective psyche of the inhabitants and was so powerfully distilled in their singular art. With the exception of Ensor; I focused on the masters Jan Van Eyck, Bruegel and Rubens who were from a time period in which the concept of God had recently changed from all-knowing to all-seeing.


In my work I’m interested in reality as it’s perceived and felt directly through seeing. Whereas Van Eyck was attempting to channel a divine “perspective” in pre-enlightenment times, I limit myself to my own immanent experience or perception - how light and color discovered through direct observation uncovers and inspires a kind of serendipitous poetry and spirit in this transformation of “objectivity.”


Art Critic Burton Wasserman wrote in a review of my work at Widener University’s Art Museum for “Art Matters” : 

“Dealing directly with subjects as diverse as rhododendrons, delphiniums and day lilies, Krendel exercises considerable poetic license, freely transforming the shape of growing plants and botanical settings in which they’re found into oil and watercolor compositions rippling with light and patterns of excitement. Poetic transcriptions of her most naked perceptions, these pictures are not observations based on external realities as much as they are playful inventions; inspired composites of jewel-like incandescence, sparkling vitality and imaginative joy.


Most interesting of all Krendel’s designs based upon greenhouse interiors. Powerful Images in which the perspectives are suggested by the architectural construction are counterpointed by a profusion of assorted plant forms. They manifest an offbeat balance of agitated vitality and earthy strength.”

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