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Vermilion Flycatcher by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "String Theory #14: Vermilion Flycatcher"
10 x 10"
Acrylic on Cradled Board
Vermilion Flycatcher


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. This piece is a 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.

The Vermillion Flycatcher became my favorite desert bird at first sight, and we are fortunate to live in a neighborhood where they are common year-round. There is nothing common, however, about their brilliant red plumage, which looks almost preternatural in the dry desert landscape. I see them most often in the late afternoon while walking our dogs along the Tanque Verde Wash. The palette of this piece is a nod to that setting, the dark olive greens evoking the shade of the old mesquite trees, while the lighter green is derived from the Saguaros and Prickly Pears that grow in a nearby subdivision. The pink speaks to the glow of the westering sun on the Catalinas as dusk falls.

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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