On Friday, Feb. 1, the Mystic Art Gallery wil host a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. for Wil Tenney, the well-known West Medford photographer.
A founding member of MACI and a long time Medford resident, Will grew up in the Bay Area in California in an artistic family. His mother was a painter and his father was a photographer. They had many artist friends, so growing up in a house filled with art and music naturally made an impression on him.
Surrounded by art books, he became fascinated with a collection of photographs “The Family of Man,” put together by Edward Steichen, a book he looked at over and over again so that each image became an old friend. When he was in high school, his father taught him how to develop and print his own photographs. In art school, the Rhode Island School of Design, he studied photography with Harry Callahan who taught him to see a full tonal range in images, and detail in the shadows as well as the highlights.
For most of his adult life, he has been studying photographically the natural world, and recently has become interested in reflection. Says Will, “I am fascinated by the swirls, bends, and distortions of the image created by ripples, swells, or wind on the surface of water. Inverting these images, turning the world on its head, returns the images to their upright geotropic orientation, yet the surface disturbances often make the image difficult to interpret. It is a knowing yet unknowing recognition of confusion, an almost dream-like quality which leads me to rationalize the irrational, to try to make sense of the chaotic, to understand the enigma I am seeing, and ultimately to see things which may not be interpreted the same way by others. Carefully cropping what I see and isolating subjects from their surroundings, this decontextualization is what allows me to view them more as paintings than as photographs.”
His work has been shown in the West Medford Open Studios, the Doc Kountze festival, the Medford Arts Festival, Arlington Open Studios, Somerville Open Studios, Somerville Art Beat, Springstep Gallery, Hyatt Place Hotel, The Gallery @ The Chelsea City in Chelsea, 13FOREST Gallery in East Arlington, and at the US Geological Survey building in Reston, VA. A number of his images have appeared in print, both in newspapers and books, many of his images are included in private and public photography collections.
In addition to being a photographer, he is bassoonist and plays regularly in a woodwind quintet. I am a past member of the Medford Arts Council, acting as its treasurer. As an avid amateur historian, he does lots of research into Medford and Massachusetts history. As an avid lover of the outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking, and cross country skiing are integral parts of his life.
The Mystic Art Gallery is located at 14 Main St., behind Citizen's Bank.
For more information, go to mysticartgallery.org.