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Silkie Chicken by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Marco Polo"
13 x 10"
Acrylic on Board
Silkie Chicken


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“Marco Polo” reflects my love of chickens and the unusual. Probably my first formative experience with birds was with our backyard chickens when I was just five or six years old, though they were fairly basic in comparison to some of the exotics with which I am now familiar. Silkies, of course, are highly unusual as chickens go. Their unique feather structure makes them appear to have fur rather than feathers, so much so that Marco Polo described them wonderingly in his 13th century travels as “furry chickens.” They have black skin and very dark flesh and are used in Asia primarily in soups, but their gentle natures and extraordinary appearances have made them a favorite among chicken fanciers and competitive show-breeders around the world. I have several friends who keep silkies, and I have already painted them more than once.

“Marco Polo” is part of my pattern series, in which I reduce the subject to a silhouetted, stamp-like form, and repeat that shape to create a background pattern, pitting the animal against a mass-produced image of itself. With the inescapable pop art references, one is reminded of Andy Warhol’s soup cans or Wayne Theibauld’s regimented displays of puddings. In most cases, the effect is humorous, evoking the animal’s ubiquity, life cycle, or reproductive capacity. In all cases, this systematization of a natural shape highlights the significance of the animal in human life and culture. In “Marco Polo,” the chicken and egg represent the story of spring, fertility, and rebirth, but also their vital world-wide importance as a food product and case study for the modern phenomenon of mass production. Certainly, with nearly eighty billion eggs and eight billion chickens consumed in the US alone each year, commercial food production is the story in this case.

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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