Tessa Edgren


Praying for My Sister (What Will Happen?) (72″ x 6″), ink, pastel, charcoal, graphite, gouache, acrylic mounted on foam core, $2000

I create characters in my work that allow me to portray the confusing interaction between religion and sexuality. The young twins around which much of my work revolves are a study of the over-sexualization of young girls and the fetishization of religiousness and purity in those same girls. These same intersecting issues have created a subculture—or sisterhood—of “sad girls,” young women who grew up in religious households, suppressed and oppressed by the virgin ideal. These characters act out my own fantasies and fears, especially those centered around sex, purity, and death. Although the twins are young, in some of the work that age is used to enhance the anxiety around preparing for death.

My work is heavily influenced by artist such as Henry Darger, Kiki Smith, Francois Boucher and Edvard Munch. Other sources of inspiration include Catholic artwork, the Salem witch trials, 60’s fashion and Alice in Wonderland.