Among contemporary artists, Tenaya Sims is perhaps the most legible with his work in my opinion. His subjects are often dark, but every detail in his paintings is remarkably prominent. They have the tendency of leaving you in contemplation, much like Sherlock Holmes.
“The Alchemist” is an oil-on-canvas from Sims, who has probably shown himself in it. Charming and smiling in real life, Sims has made his man, only physically, a splitting resemblance of himself. Speaking of alchemy, many do believe that today’s quacks are tomorrow’s scientists!
Tenaya Sims is a modern man, unlike those tragic lives who painted their last works with their own blood. Sims has been an industrial figure as well. With prominent contributions in sculpture, painting and drawings, Sims has a responsibility of taking this era forward with a bold message – which thrusts at you from all his paintings.
Sims’ works portray a sense of gratification in the story – the way it is – and why it is content to be the way it is. That is what’s striking about the characterization of Sims’ subjects in his paintings as well. For example, the alchemist here is merely a drug addict if photographed, but much more than just an experimental genius in the painting. Besides, Sims is quite bold about placing his props – as if to show that the person has just been over the moon, now accepted into an obvious world.
The Alchemist is a product of sheer contemplation and power – something that deludes orthodox believers about healthful living – and something much more than a self-portrait. I believe this private collection item should be turning into a museum asset very soon. It is the effect on the viewer – which is the influence of a man striving to observe what the world doesn’t believe, evidently while making himself a part of that experiment.