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Nuttal's Woodpecker Pair by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "The Bar Code"
20 x 16"
Acrylic on Cradled Board
Nuttal's Woodpecker Pair

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These sprightly Nuttal’s Woodpeckers, with their boldly barred plumage and the male’s luminous red pate, have long been among my favorite visitors to the bird feeder. Their color patterns suggest wonderful abstract possibilities, and that was my focus here. Paintings of woodpeckers scaling bare winter trunks are, with apologies, a dime a dozen in the world of wildlife art, and I wanted to strip away as much of the familiar as possible, leaving the viewer only with the bare essentials. Certainly this is a composition that is more about negative space than perhaps anything else. I’ve allowed only a small amount of the tree bark texture to appear in the upper right of the composition, while the rest of the “trees” become a weave of grey and black bars and large swaths of negative space. Across the void that dominates the center of the composition, a delicate balance of tension keeps the eye moving back and forth between the male and female bird as they flit about on these abstract ladders, which are, of course, intended to echo the natural patterns of the birds’ feathers, but not only that. It is not accidental that the abstracted trees are visually reminiscent of UPC symbols, those lovely little bar codes that decorate the packaging of nearly every product we buy these days, and which wait only for the swipe of a laser to decode their seemingly ineffable blur of little black lines into prices and descriptions. I’ve often wished that I could understand the language of birds and other animals, but since I lack the proper scanner to break the code, I’ll have to content myself with dreamily musing over their wonderful cacophony of chirps, trills, squawks, and cries. Perhaps the mystery is more enjoyable than knowing anyhow.

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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