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Hedgehogs by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Hedgerow #2"
13 x 15"
Acrylic on Board

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I have become increasingly fascinated with hedgehogs since I first visited the United Kingdom in 2012. Soaking in the endless green of England, the dense hedgerows, carpets of bracken, and mysterious dark forests, it was not hard to imagine Mrs. Tiggywinkle (one of my favorite Beatrix Potter Characters) busying herself in some dim and magical corner. I was very fortunate to be able to make a behind-the-scenes visit to Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre not far from where my partner’s family lives in Tewkesbury. There I learned of the plight of the hedgehog. With England’s ancient hedgerows themselves endangered, population growing, gardens made dangerous with careless lawnmowers and hostile pets, and cars posing a constant hazard, it is no wonder this facility cares for hundreds of injured animals every year. How to honor these unique and precious creatures presented itself as a very real and important challenge.

“Hedgerow” evolved out of my “Pattern” series, in which animal subjects are pitted against a stamp-like, mass produced image. In this piece, however, rather than being presented in front of a patterned background, the hedgehog is melded into the background pattern itself. The Pattern series explored the notion of commodification of wildlife, reproductive capacity, and the ubiquity of urban wildlife. It is in this last sense that “Hedgerow” relates. The removal of the animal subject from its natural habitat and its recontextualizing in a stark, white space, underscores the ability of the hedgehog to adapt to foreign and man-made environments. The serial nature of the hedgehog “stamp” and the use of non-objective color further serve to pull the animal out of context. Even within this sea of colors, the two representationally “realistic” hedgehogs almost become lost. The entry of one such hedgehog from the right side of the painting and the exit of the other half of its body to left lends the image a suggestion of constant, repetitive motion like an old-fashioned zoetrope. . This piece, “Hedgerow #2” is a smaller, more intimate version of a larger, 30 x 30” piece I completed in 2020.

Though they are generally well-liked, hedgehogs, like all common- or once common- animals, suffer sometimes from being overlooked. Their very familiarity works against them. As such, I decided to present this wonderful little animal in an entirely new and fresh way. Sometimes we can only truly see the familiar when it is made unfamiliar.

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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