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"String Theory #7: White-Crowned Sparrow"
16 x 8"
Acrylic on Cradled Board2011
How to buy
I grew up surrounded by White-Crowned Sparrows. These birds, and their very similar Gold-Crowned cousins, were among the most common of local avian life, so much so that one could fail to appreciate how beautiful they really are. I’ve often said that an artist is just an ordinary person who pays attention, so surely those common flora and fauna that almost become background noise amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, are especially deserving of spending some time in the artistic spotlight. I chose colors that I thought would highlight the sparrow’s subtle coloration. Of particular interest to me here was the glorious, clear peach of the bird’s legs and beak. The periwinkle blue was chosen almost entirely to offset this luscious hue, and together they make a combination fitting for these demure and lovely garden visitors.
Last year I started “String Theory,” a new series of paintings that sinks its roots years back in my study of art history in college. I have always been fascinated with minimalism, and among my favorites historical examples are Piet Mondrian and Barnett Newman. Both artists brilliantly illustrate the simple but undeniable power of spatial and color harmonies, and the almost magical ability of just a few lines to create mood and meaning.
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 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. The title of the series is not only a humorous play on words and reference to the fact that the avian subjects are, quite obviously, interacting with “strings” or stripes; it also alludes to the manner in which these contextual clues require a re-envisioning of the surrounding space, much as String Theory has (for its proponents anyway) changed our understanding of the cosmological landscape and how its component parts interact. 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.
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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