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Lucy's Warblers by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "String Theory #13: Lucy's Warblers"
10 x 10"
Acrylic on Cradled Board
Lucy's Warblers

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I began coming to Tucson in 2012 and immediately fell in love with Sonoran Desert landscape, its exotic, alien forms, its stunning color palette, and of course its bird life. These pieces are both part of my “String Theory” series, which feature birds interacting with lines and color fields, a nod to my favorite minimalists, Piet Mondrian and Barnett Newman.

The contrast between illusionistic imagery and flat decorative treatments has been at the conceptual core of my work for nearly twenty years, owing largely to my study of modern art, so it should come as no surprise that an image of birds essentially flying into a Barnett Newman painting and perching on the stripes came into my head like a thunderbolt. Simply by virtue of their proximity to more descriptive elements like the birds, otherwise completely flat areas of color become alive and animate in three-dimensional space. Of course, the concept evolved well past this initial point of inspiration to become something entirely new and very much my own. These pieces suggest the dislocation of birds from their natural environments and their adaptiveness to the urban and suburban habitats we have made. These colorful stripes are not meant to “describe” anything as mundane as a fence posts, branches, or bird feeders; rather they become their own non-objective environments, beautiful, evocative, and otherworldly.

Having said that, my observation of these birds in the wild is integral, not only to the accuracy with which I paint them, but to the color stories they evoke. In the case of the Lucy’s Warblers, I encountered them in the branches of a Mexican Palo Verde in full bloom. I was stuck by the contrast between these sweet, grey little birds, and the hyper-saturated acid yellows of the blooms. The rust color, also present in the flowers as well as the birds, and the green of the bark also play their role. I don’t intend for these colors to necessarily suggest the Palo Verde to the viewer; rather, it was the Palo Verde that suggested a palette to me which, in this context, becomes largely abstract.

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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