Armoured Figure

Painting by John Tenasco
John Tenasco
acrylic on canvas
Collection number
Art in the moveable Collection


John Tenasco’s work spans the realms of both abstraction and realism. He takes larger ideas and filters them through his own personal lens to express themes of impermanence and instability of the image. His process begins with an intuitive search for form and meaning, which is executed in a combination of gestural and controlled linear strokes. Tenasco's work contains numerous influences; not only from other artists but also other disciplines such as philosophy, poetry and music. The artist’s work is also informed by his spirituality, and so the changing forms in his work reference concepts of the transcendental and sublime. Painterly brushstrokes create a sense of movement, bringing abstracted figures to life. Tenasco captures and rearranges colours of the environment, exploring the bright and inspiring hues of the natural world.

John Tenasco is an Algonquin from the Kitigan-Zibi Anishinabeg reserve near Maniwaki, Quebec. He is interested in a variety of media and styles of paintings and produces works with Aboriginal content in as many ways possible. He earned a D.E.C. from Heritage College (Gatineau) and a B.F.A. at the University of Ottawa. John Tenasco was awarded the Jaqueline Fry Memorial Scholarship in 2001 as well as the Suzanne Rivard-Lemoyne Prize in 2002. His works are held in the collections of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and University of Ottawa. This is the first acquisition by John Tenasco for the City of Ottawa Art Collection.