“In the increasingly crowded field of wildlife artists, Andrew Denman stands out for his distinctive look in addition to his masterful painting skill” writes veteran art writer and magazine editor Jennifer King in a 2008 editorial for Create Better Paintings.com. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining elements of realism, 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 at the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
Though Denman’s animals are nearly always disassociated from their natural environments and presented in a more conceptual context, inspiration always begins in the field. The artist goes to great lengths to faithfully portray his subjects, taking frequent field trips to wild places the world over, as well as local nature areas, parks, and zoos to observe his subjects and acquire reference material. Yet while accuracy is always of great importance, Denman is an artist before he is a naturalist. His work is not about an objective exploration of nature, but rather an interpretation both deeply personal and rooted in a broader understanding of art history, the cultural relationship between people and animals, and especially the symbolic significance with which we imbue wildlife. The sense of fearless experimentation and originality he brings to his paintings testifies to the artist’s true focus. As Mary Nelson writes in the Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Wildlife Art magazine, “In the end, it’s not the mood, the meaning, or the method that Denman craves. It is the medium-art.”
Born in 1978, the Bay Area native showed a great degree of interest in art from an early age. Denman organized his first one man show in high school at a local library, and soon after began participating in exhibitions with Pacific Wildlife Galleries in Lafayette, CA, alongside leading figures Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders, and John Seerey-Lester. Andrew went on to hold four successful solo exhibitions at Pacific Wildlife before moving to Trailside Galleries in 2008. Denman is currently represented by Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, WY, Sander’s Gallery, Tucson, AZ, and The Gallery at Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset, England. The artist maintains Denman Studios at his Tucson, AZ, home, which he shares with partner and fellow wildlife artist Guy Combes.
String Theory #18: Raven
Hum #2: Costa's Hummingbird
String Theory #3: Lesser Goldfinches
Hum - Rufus Hummingbird
Study for String Theory #2
Totem #7: Stacked Bluebirds
Tiny Totem #4: Study for Totem #5: Stacked Coyotes & Ravens
Totem #5: Stacked Coyotes & Ravens
Though my inspiration always begins with nature, my work presents animals through a conceptual and interpretive, rather than an objective and natural historical, lens. My animal subjects are nearly always disassociated from their natural environments; seen in an entirely non-objective context and often arranged in unexpected and fanciful ways, the viewer is forced to consider wildlife differently than he otherwise might. Sometimes we only truly see the familiar when it is made unfamiliar. The result is something both reverent and whimsical, broadly universal and uniquely personal, a commentary less about the animal subject itself than about the symbolic import with which we imbue nature and the significant role it plays, both wholly practical and deeply spiritual, in our daily lives.