Women have been used and portrayed in arts for thousands of years - often by the other sex - and very often without clothes. Both in society and in the arts, the image femininity is often skewed into one direction, not recognizing that there is a diverse representation of what femininity is.
Starting in 1989, anonymous activist group Guerrilla Girls inaugurated their irregular headcount of female artists versus female nude sculptures shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York- asking, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?”
Most of Tessel's paintings on canvas and illustrations on paper portray and embody feminine nudes and reclaim the body and her own agency as a source of power. The naked body also symbolises vulnerability, while narrating about comfort and confinement, times of being loved, of self-love - but also of struggle. The colours and shapes of the bodies are expressions of introspection, personal growth and of healing - as the tessellated shapes splay with high contrasts, shadow and light.
In essence, the paintings are a medium to reclaim feminine energy and the female body (her 'nude') from something formerly objectified, sexualized and 'exotified', to something that is connected to the power from within: something that is sacred, yet laud and present. In addition to that, both the Black and White Works, as well as the coloured canvasses from the atelier, aim at carrying out some sort of balance in light and form. This illustrates duality and the tensions and dynamics of masculine and feminine energy that we all carry within ourselves.