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 American Crows by Andrew Denman
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"String Theory #15: Crows"
30 x 40" Acrylic on Cradled Board
American Crows

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Crows are a favorite subject of mine. For one thing their commonness makes us take them for granted, both as a part of the wild, urban, and suburban landscape, and ubiquitous subjects present the best opportunities for reinterpretation. Sometimes recontextualizing something we see every day is the only way to truly see it, and that concept is integral to all of my work. Additionally, the omnipresence of the crow and its habituation to humans and the environments we have made for ourselves have made it a part of our collective consciousness. Few birds have amassed such a wealth of myth, symbolism, and cultural and spiritual import as the corvids, that group of intelligent, highly successful, and mysterious, (mostly) black birds, to which crows and ravens belong.

This particular piece is part of my “String Theory” series, which is primarily about the contrast between illusionistic imagery and flat, decorative treatments. This idea 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, which is especially appropriate for a study of crows. 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.

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.
All artwork and text featured on this page and throughout this website is protected by international copyright laws. Use of these images or text is prohibited without the express written permission of Andrew Denman.