Sunday, July 31, 2011

►Guy Denning - Self-reflective emotions

►Guy Denning (born 1965) is an English contemporary artist and painter based in France. He is the founder of the Neomodern group, a member of Stuckism International, and part of the urban art scene in Bristol.
Hailing from Bristol, and now residing in France, Guy Denning has taken the urban art world by storm with his beautiful, often haunting works. His androgynous figures, with their strange and often ethereal beauty, form a statement about the modern obsession with the fantasy of youth, beauty and cosmetic surgery as a surreal substitute for real life. 

Denning is often viewed as an enigma. Sexual and temporal politics, objectification, and isolation are themes which are widely explored in his work, illuminated through the carefully honed juxtaposition of shape and shade to create a mood as well as a theme. The paintings blend the smoothness of classical form with harsh yet truthful statements about contemporary issues that plague Western Society.

Denning's early work included an interest in the work of Franz Kline and was characterised by powerful, expressive brushstrokes in mainly abstract paintings. More recently he has combined earlier influences with an increasingly figurative style of painting. The human figure features strongly in his latest work and he uses this subject matter to convey powerful emotions, often with political overtones. The Icarus series of works is an example of this approach. Structurally his work is very dynamic showing a concern for strong draughtsmanship with a spontaneous application of colour. He does not work to set motifs, but makes paintings and drawings from observation and photographic reference.

Guy Denning uses not only powerful brush strokes to express his emotions deeply but also scratches the paint to show the audience the intensity of the emotions he is trying to portray with his artwork. Guy Denning's Requiem 2 is a good example of this. Denning's work involves other techniques such as blacking out eyes and mouths maybe to emphasize Denning's theme of darkness, horror and maybe even despair. He also sometimes uses stencils and collaged text. A question that is often asked about Denning's work is whether it reflects his own emotions and feelings or is the artwork simply presented the way it is to emphasize the condition of the subject.
He has stated that his work has been significantly informed by the subject of war "When I was about 11 or 12 I came to France with my parents and they took me to the war cemetery at Verdun. It was the most significant thing that ever happened to me."
From 1992, he has exhibited across Britain.Since 2007 he has exhibited also in the United States of America, Italy and France. In 1997, he founded the Neomodern group. In 2004, he founded the Bristol Stuckists group. His work appeared in the Triumph of Stuckism exhibition at Liverpool John Moores University as part of the 2006 Liverpool Biennial. The show was curated by Naive John.

Artist's Statement…
"The visual arts are the focus of culture; they are the most important road leading humanity away from its old home of 'nature'. From the earliest finger scratched image in the dirt, to the cave paintings of Lascaux to the iron 'angel of the north' they represent our fundamental desire and drive to replace the natural chaos with a cultural order. The visual arts so often have served spiritual ends because of this representation. At its basest level artists take dirt, model it and make significance. It is no coincidence that the state funded galleries of the world have taken on the presence that only religious buildings once had.
Art isn't about communication. It's about the search for significance and control in a world of anonymity and chaos."

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