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Ruby-Crowned Kinglets by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "String Theory #12: Ruby-Crowned Kinglets"
12 x 9"
Acrylic on Board
Ruby-Crowned Kinglets


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This is the 12th installment in my “String Theory” series, which is fast becoming one of my favorite artistic veins to mine. Much of this piece is about the color story of the birds, but like a lot of my work it is also an exploration of the tension between a sense of illusionistic depth and flat, decorative treatments. I’ve long been inspired by minimalism in art, and this piece very deliberately nods toward Barnett Newman’s “Zip Paintings” of the 40’s through 70’s, large color fields broken only by a few vertical slashes of color. I imagined what would happen if a few birds flew into a zip painting and landed on the stripes. In “String Theory,” color fields and simple lines that would otherwise appear entirely flat are thrust into three-dimensions by the placement of the birds hanging from or perching on the stripes. With just a few subtle points of contact and carefully placed shifts in color, value, and color temperature, flat shapes become alive and animate.

Kinglets have long been one of my favorite birds. They are so tiny and fragile-looking, but also incredibly resilient and very widespread in their range. I observed these particular birds in Berkeley, CA, just hours before a friend’s wedding that was beautifully hosted at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. It was a joy to follow these tiny birds as they flitted from branch to branch with playful ease. I even observed a male extend his tiny orange crest, something which is rarely seen and that I myself had only ever observed on one other occasion.

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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