Tessa Farmer was born in 1978 in Birmingham, UK and is an artist based in London. She received her BA in 2000 and her MA in 2003 from the Ruskin, Oxford. Subsequent awards include the Vivien Leigh Prize, a sculpture residency in King's Wood, Challock, Kent, and a Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award. In 2007 she was nominated for The Times/ The South Bank Show Breakthrough Award.
She has shown work in many exhibitions including Thinking the Unthinkable at The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, Miniature Worlds at the Jerwood Space, London, and The Terror at Firstsite in Colchester. In 2007 she undertook a residency at the Natural History Museum in London. Her work is in collections worldwide, including those of the Saatchi Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum and the David Roberts Collection.
"Tessa's miniscule sculptures reinvigorate a belief in fairies: not the sweet Tinkerbell image in popular conscience, but a biological, entomological, macabre species translating pastoral fable into nightmarish lore. Constructed from bits of organic material, such as roots, leaves, and dead insects, each of Tessa's figures stand barely 1 cm tall, their painstakingly intricate detail visible only through a magnifying glass.
Hovering with rarefied, jewel-like beauty, Tessa's tiny spectacles resound with a theurgist exotica: their specimen forms borrow from Victorian occultism to evolve as something alien and futuristic. Playing out apocalyptic narratives of a microscopic underworld, Tessa's manikin wonders rule with baneful fervour: harnessing mayflies, battling honey bees, attacking spindly spiders. Presented as wee preternatural discoveries, Tessa's sculptures conjure a superstitious premise, dismantling the mythos of fantasia with evidence of something much more gothic, sinister, and bewitching."
Patricia Ellis 2007