June 21, 2007

Marc Dennis

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Marc Dennis, thanking me for some old Giornale posts which, he wrote, had aided him in his research for a lecture on the subject of Insects in Art that he had delivered for the New York Entomological Society. Mr. Dennis added that I might be interested in certain of his paintings, and, after a quick perusal of the works on display at his website, I replied that yes, indeed I was.

Detail from 'Seascape with Submarine,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on masonite, 2002.

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Detail from 'Seascape with Machine Gunfire,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on masonite, 2002.

His compositions are usually simple yet bold examples of beautifully-rendered realism, though seldom without some ironic twist. In the first of the two beguiling seascapes above, for example, the swell in the foreground of the picture is explained by the painting’s title: Seascape with Submarine. The columns of spray in the second image? Seascape with Machine Gunfire. ‘Rather than trashing art history,’ writes one critic, ‘Marc Dennis uses it to make contemporary social commentary.’

Detail from 'Horse with a Minimalist Blanket,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on panel, 2003.

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Detail from 'American Horse with Tabriz,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on panel, 2003.
Through the appropriation of a visually decadent style of historical painting, I attempt at infusing the notions of beauty and seduction with new symbolic criteria and attitude.
With a light-handed use of narrative and metaphor, I’d like to think that my style of realism, in its lucid objectivity, results in a kind of nervous beauty and irrational disquiet.
'Hybrid #20, Florigium Classicus Bumpus,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on canvas, 2006.

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'Hybrid #44, Florigium Bling Bling,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on canvas, 2006.

Dennis has been exhibiting his work since the early ’90s, and his paintings have been on show at such prestigious locales as The National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He is currently represented by the Hirschl and Adler Gallery in New York. He also works as an Asssociate Professor of Art at Elmira College in upstate New York.

'Vespid Mortem (Dead Wasps) #2,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on canvas, 2006.

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Detail from 'Vespid Mortem (Dead Wasps) #6,' by Marc Dennis, painting in oil on canvas, 2006.

The first four of the images above were scanned from a catalogue of a 2003 exhibition devoted to Dennis’s paintings at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, also in New York, while the remainder of them were sent to me by the artist. Other paintings of his can be found at the websites of the Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston; the Bettcher Gallery, Miami; the Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee and the G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle. All of these images are copyright © Marc Dennis, and are reproduced here with permission.

Posted by misteraitch at June 21, 2007 01:28 PM
Comments

The past two contemporary artists you've showcased: Dennis and Lipton, have both been very interesting and not artists I would have encountered otherwise, thank you.
I've no background in art to speak of beyond classical studies, but I'd like to suggest taking a look at Carson Ellis' work. I don't think she is very well known, but her work has always really interested me.
http://www.carsonellis.com/

Posted by: Andrew on June 21, 2007 03:41 PM

http://www.spamula.net/blog/archives/000445.html

In reference to the above blog from 2005, I know where Giuseppe Arcimboldo's Trojan Horse is located. I saw it while on vacation in September 2006 and was intrigued by it's strong political message. If the person from Romania is still looking for this piece, please have them contact me. My email is jenn_pann@yahoo.com

Thanks!
Jenn

Posted by: Jennifer Pann on June 24, 2007 08:40 PM

Posted by: Jennifer Pann on June 24, 2007 11:27 PM

Jennifer—I don’t know why the image in your second comment doesn’t show (here’s a link). I e-mailed you the Romanian fellow’s e-mail address: I haven’t had any contact with him since I wrote that post early in 2005.

Posted by: misteraitch on June 24, 2007 11:34 PM

Posted by: Jennifer Pann on June 24, 2007 11:42 PM

Jennifer—I guess img tags get stripped out of comments: sorry.

Andrew—I know of (& like) Carson Ellis’ work, having first seen it (like most people, I guess) on the covers of Decemberists CDs.

Posted by: misteraitch on June 24, 2007 11:50 PM

thanks for this-- not always easy to find interesting contemporary work in realism.

Posted by: phoebe (silk felt soil) on August 16, 2007 06:40 PM
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