Alina Tenser

MFA, 2012

Alina Tenser was born in Kiev, Ukraine. She received her BFA from School of the Visual Arts and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Tenser has held solo exhibitions at AIR, New York, NY; Nurture Art, Brooklyn, NY; and Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at venues including The Kitchen, New York, NY; The Suburban, Chicago, IL;  Jancar Jones, Los Angeles, CA; and Laurel Gitlen Gallery, New York, NY. Most Recently Tenser’s work was shown at Kate Werble Gallery and Soloway Gallery in New York. Tenser received the Dedalus  Foundation MFA Fellowship and was a resident of Recess Sessions in 2012. She is currently preparing for a two-person show in Miami at Gallery Diet due to open in September 2015.

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What have you been up to since graduating from VCU?

I moved back to New York after finishing my MFA.  Luckily, I was a resident at Recess shortly after the move. This helped settle me in NY, established some sense of an art community, and led to a handful of great opportunities.  After several years of studio hopping and short-term studio sublets I finally have a wonderful long-term studio that I am setting up now. Workwise, my practice has expanded to video and performance work.


What advice would you give a current VCU Sculpture student?

I would advocate for not worrying about consistency, and trusting the seemingly erratic urges to switch materials or work modes.  Authenticity comes through, and consistency coalesces over time.

How did VCU prepare you for your current situation?

The rigorous two years at VCU left me with a myriad of rabbit holes to follow. I mean this material wise and idea wise.  I find myself still revisiting some of the same thoughts I was having during graduate school; for example the role of gravity, functionality, and domestic forms are all major points of investigation for me. Many of my peers from graduate school are also currently in New York and it is especially sweet to have ongoing conversations with them about this stuff.


How do you define success?

I think success should look and feel different for everyone. For me, success is a feeling of staying active and spirited in my practice. Achieving some kind of balance with personal life and my art practice is challenging but a great goal to have.

Why did you decide to study sculpture?

Even though my work has always dealt with surface, which is mostly a frontal preoccupation, I was interested in surface as it applies to objects.  I felt very timid with structure and still do, but form and dimension are really fascinating to me.  When I think about making work, I always envision holding, touching, and forming it.  This goes for my sculpture, performance, and video work. The Sculpture department at VCU was terrific for nurturing my interest in form and object making while opening me up to time-based ways of investigating these ideas.