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11 x 7"
Graphite, Nero, & Colored Pencil on Watercolor Board, 2015
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Even as a child, I looked upon death with a kind of fascinated reverence, rather than fear, horror, or disgust. It’s no wonder that, despite the celebration of animal life that the main body of my work so clearly reflects, dead animal subjects have presented themselves with some frequency. For me, the study of fallen birds, dried butterflies, and even bones, are just as celebratory as their animated counterparts. When I come upon a dead bird, for instance, I see it as a poignant and beautiful reminder of the fragility of life, a fragility that is inherent in its very value; that’s as good a reason to paint or draw a subject as I can think of. Presented in sharp, painstaking detail, these pieces are my contribution to the tradition of the “vanitas” of the American Trompe-l'oeil painters of the late 1800’s, such as Harnett, Haberle, and Peto. The heavily symbolic, hyper-realistic still lifes they painted presented dead animals, skulls, and melting candles as comments on the mutability of human existence, often contrasting them with symbols of persistence, such as books, music, and the like. The combination of a black and white medium like graphite with colored pencil in the “Fallen” series serves to underscore this sense of faded grandeur. It is the proper fate of a fallen bird to provide food for the ants, and after decay, for the flowers that will one day yield seeds to feed other birds (Indeed that is our own fate, despite the loud and self-important trappings of human society that convince us otherwise), but when given the opportunity, I intend to take note of even the smallest passage, and that is what these drawings are about: paying proper tribute, even to the fall of a sparrow.
Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California –based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
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