‘Beyond the Image’
For the past two and half years, Boone artist Warren Dennis has
been painting in a new style, partially abandoning a successful technique that he had utilized for
more than a half century.
“I reached an end of what I had been doing for 60 years; I had used it all up,” Dennis said. “I had to keep painting, but in a new way. I turned to this current style, at first, with some apprehension. Then a flood of new ideas came on to me, and this is the result.”
Dennis’ new style dominates an exhibit of his works that will be on display in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery this month. The new exhibit, titled “Beyond the Image: The Paintings of Warren Dennis,” will be on display from Friday, Sept. 6, through Saturday, Oct. 19.
A public reception for the new exhibit will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, at the Turchin Center in Boone. The reception is part of the Turchin Center’s Fall Exhibition Celebration and is free and open to the public.
“The human image is obviously the central factor in my work,” Dennis said in his artist’s statement. “These figures and faces result from years of effort — a careful honing, by trial and error, to gain a specific effect.
“By now, these people are all mine. They confront each other, they stand alone in contemplation or amazement, or they are sometimes simply asleep. My concerns are with showing dignity and humor and innocence as they affect us, and with the robust, absurd gestures we make to reveal ourselves. With our backs to each other or face-to-face, we show and try to hide our feelings.
“I would like for these paintings to go beyond the image, to involve the viewer in a pure way. Even though the figures are distorted, I hope that they confront the public as if they were real people. This sense of dramatic presence is what I always work toward.”
About the Artist
Warren Dennis was born in Clarksdale, Miss., in 1927. He received his bachelor of art degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and went on to earn a master of fine arts degree from the University of Mississippi. While there, he had the opportunity to study with visiting artists Jack Tworkov and David Smith. He continued his education with special study under Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the University of Minnesota and special study in lithography under Reginald Neal at Rutgers University.
Dennis has been teaching art since 1955. His first position was at Judson College in Marion, Ala. He then switched to Appalachian State University in Boone, until he retired from teaching in 1993. He was the chairman for Appalachian State’s Department of Art from 1980 to 1984.
A respected artist of long standing, Dennis’ many exhibitions, solo and group shows, prizes and awards would make a listing of many pages. His work is represented in many corporate and private collections, including the Hickory Museum of Art’s permanent collection. His paintings have been featured on Charles Kuralt’s “CBS Sunday Morning” program, as well as in Southern Living Magazine. Warren continues to live and work in Boone.
For more information on the exhibit and Friday’s opening reception, call the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at (828) 262-3017. The Turchin Center is located at 423 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit http://www.tcva.org.