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Ravens by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "The Usual Suspects #2: Desert Heat"
48 x 48"
Acrylic on Cradled Board

This piece will be available from The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Ironwood Gallery during the Desert Senses Exhibition, running from December 10th, 2022 through March 5th, 2023. Exclusive Preview & Artist's Reception, Friday, December 9th, 4-6PM. Interested parties should contact the venue directly at (520) 883-3024. Visit the gallery online by clicking HERE

How to Buy, general info

Ravens have long been a favorite subject of mine. Despite being quite common, they are loaded with personality, which always makes them an interesting subject to paint. I often find that attitude, before any other particular detail of color or form, dictates what I paint, and ravens are simply overflowing with attitude, which is evident in the title of the piece. In the first iteration of this composition, the birds were set against a bright white background. The suggestion of a police lineup combined with the reputation of ravens to stir up trouble inspired the title of the painting, a nod to the classic 1995 neo-noir film of the same name. In this second version, I wanted to amp up the color palette, using a vivid salmon orange for the background and contrasting it with cool blue-green, blues, and violets to convey the hot climate of my new home here in Arizona, and to capture the super-saturated palette of the American Southwest.

“The Usual Suspects” evolved out of my “Pattern” series, in which animal subjects are pitted against a stamp-like, mass produced image. In this piece, however, rather than being presented in front of a patterned background, the ravens are melded into the background pattern itself, a breakthrough shift in style I first achieved with a similar composition focusing on hedgehogs. The Pattern series explored the notion of commodification of wildlife, reproductive capacity, and the ubiquity of urban wildlife. It is in this last sense that “The Usual Suspects” relates. The removal of the animal subject from its natural habitat and its recontextualizing in a non-objective space, underscores the ability of the raven to adapt to foreign and man-made environments. The serial nature of the raven “stamp” and the use of non-objective color further serve to pull the animal out of context. Even within this sea of colors, the two representationally “realistic” birds almost become lost. The entry of one such raven from the left side of the painting and the exit of the other half of its body to the right lends the image a suggestion of constant, repetitive motion like an old-fashioned zoetrope.

Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, an Arizona–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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