Ken Denning / BKF
Ken Denning has in all his activities as artist been preoccupied with the landscape, which he persistently has sought out and interpreted through different artistic effects.
With a take-off in graphic, etching and drawing became the preferred mode of expression. The intimate format inspired to work with series of landscape, which among others were interpreted through the textual and condensed line of the etching needle. What is common for the approach to these works is an organization of the picture surface in contrasts to the open and the closed, the organic and the linear and none the less the rich exploration of the differences in shade between the black and white poles of graphic art, from the velvety blacks towards the whiteness of the paper. The landscape is to be recognize in a sober noticeable form, where the different elements are set out. But exactly Ken Denning’s ability to stretch out the picture surface in adversary and inaction, gives the picture a special insistent present.
In the nineties Ken Denning highly begins to adopt a more experimental attitude to the graphic expression. Different graphic techniques are often employed in one and the same picture, e.g. lithography, serigraphy, and photogravure or drypoint and woodcut. Moreover, in several of these works photos of landscape are used. These are further worked up with oil color and acrylic. From the work with an even surface, the picture composition now becomes even more a composition based on shiftings and overlaps, which gives a different perception of space. The characteristic daubs create a distance to the basis of the landscape. However, we still find the landscape either through the underlying photo or through the basic characteristics of the landscape, horizontal line or vegetation, which is often accentuated by means of expressive applied color. In some of the works, the oil color ends up taking over the canvas, which gives “pure” paintings.
Ken Denning has several times visit the Faroe Islands. The encounter with the violent nature and the rapid changing wetter leaves characteristic traces in the conception of the landscape. The rugged clefts and the tremendous rocks, which rise to the sky, make the horizontal line tip from horizontal to level. The shift and the vigorous get through in the picture as extensive stretching between contrasts of form and color. Through the nineties, particularly the color is subject to experiments. The earth colors increasingly have to retreat to strong colors which are perceived as rhythmical outlines and sounds.
Trapholt Art Museum. Denmark