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"Signs of Passing"
24 x 19"
Acrylic on Cradled Board 2011
Still Life with Anna's Hummingbird
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The trompe l’oeil still life is a type of painting that has always fascinated me. I began a series of these still lifes over fifteen years ago, the hallmark of which are small, ordinary objects, including dead animal specimens, painted as though they are resting on the surface of a painting. My first efforts in this area were quite complex, culminating in the massive still life “Mine Is…” which features a dense interplay of written text, abstract space, natural and unnatural objects, and illusionistic landscape painting. My recent efforts have been more reductive and severe, most notably, “Primary,” which features a dead sapsucker sprawled across a vibrant color field. “Sings of Passing” is of a very similar vein. It began when my grandmother found this beautiful dead female Anna’s hummingbird and saved it for me in her freezer. I was amazed that her little tongue was out, frozen in time as if she’d died in mid sip. The painting is intended to be an homage to its subject. This piece was quite challenging insofar as I had no real idea of how I wanted the background to look, only how I wanted it to feel. The result was painting and repainting, sanding and glazing until finally it simply felt right and was ready for the inclusion of the bird. The one thing I knew about the background was that I wanted to include an oversized silhouette of the fallen bird inverted as if in death (calling distantly to mind the “After the Hunt” paintings of American trompe l’oeil pioneer William Harnett) and that there would be a warm and luminous stripe running down the length of the painting, drawing in the viewer and also suggesting the transcendence of the mortal coil by the hummingbird itself. I wanted its death to evoke poignancy and beauty, but not sadness, to serve as a reminder of the wonder and worth of even the smallest of living things.
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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