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Cottontail by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Silver and Gold"
10 x 10"
Acrylic & 23 K Gold Leaf on Cradled Board

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Rabbits hold a special place in my heart, and I always feel like I am being let in on a secret when I see one in the wild. Their commonness robs them of none of their magic, magic bestowed upon them by the childhood fiction of Beatrix Potter, the hallucinatory genius of Lewis Carol, the poignancy of Williams and Fancher’s Velveteen Rabbit, and the mythology of the Easter Bunny. I came across this particular animal while in Dubois, Wyoming, to teach an artist workshop. My dogs, Ella and Enzi, come with me on this trip every year, and I love to walk and run them in the big vacant field behind the lodge where I always stay. This workshop is at the same time each year, but depending on the weather and who knows what whims of nature, sometimes there are no bunnies at all, and other times there are so many bunnies I could practically trip on them. The cottontail population is the primary factor is determining whether or not Ella and Enzi are allowed off leash. Much to their dismay and frustration, 2016 was a very bunny rich year! This particular rabbit sat stock still, scrunched down in the grass, thoroughly convinced that my dogs, both scrabbling desperately at the ends of their tethers, could not see it. I found this display, but more specifically the almost rock-like, flattened silhouette of the cottontail, to be intensely beautiful.

A sculptor friend of mine, Simon Gudgeon, once sculpted an English Hare in exactly this pose. That piece struck me as a wonderful example of reductivism, an animal and all its complexities condensed, like Brancusi’s “Bird in Flight,” into the simplest expression of pure form, and here it was in front of me in the flesh, life imitating art. Though this rabbit desperately wanted to be overlooked, I certainly saw it. It is a major preoccupation of my work to choose a common, often overlooked subject and elevate it to an object of significance, even reverence. The large expanse of ethereal, non-objective space and the stylization of the grasses in precious metal leaf is meant to transport the subject, and indeed the viewer, out of the prosaic, objective reality of the cottontail, and into the delightful world of myth and mystery in which the rabbit lives, far more vividly, in the heart and head.

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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