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Barn Owls by Andrew Denman
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"Modern Camouflage III"
24 x 36" Acrylic on Cradled Board, 2015
Barn Owls
“Modern Camouflage III” is the third in a series of paintings focusing on the juxtaposition of organic and inorganic patterns. For many years, I’ve had an image in my head of an owl hidden amongst a weave of pattern, evoking wallpaper. The biggest challenge, as I then saw it, was how to bridge the gap between a realistically painted owl and a two dimensional background. My breakthrough was, in fact, the realization that no such bridge was needed. Much of the history of western art from the mid-19th century and into the 20th is a struggle between the treatment of the canvas in the Renaissance-inspired, “illusionistic” manner, as a space the viewer can imagine himself stepping into, or as a flat surface to be decorated. It may seem awkward that the illusionistically painted barn owl’s talons seem to be curving around a perch even though they are “gripping” a two-dimensional sweep of background pattern, but this tension is precisely the point. The “Modern Camouflage” Series is about the contrast between patterns in nature and man-made patterns, so this very tension is an entirely integral expression of the piece’s conceptual underpinnings. This particular piece is decidedly the boldest and most modern of the four. The other pieces used far more intricate patterns that were, while wholly non-objective, at least reminiscent in their organic nature of leaves or branches. The very mod pattern that dominates “Modern Camouflage III” is starkly and unrelentingly inorganic, and even where I have broken it up, makes no pretense at alluding to nature. It speaks to the owls wholly by echoing the shape of their moon-like faces. The dialogue between representational and abstract, objective and non-objective, illusionistic and flat, and organic and inorganic, is entirely visual.

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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