|Biography from Savageau Gallery:|
|James Denmark was born in Winter Haven, Florida on March 23, 1936 into
a family of artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age
by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, by his
grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds and
his mother who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a
fastidiousness for detail, which she expressed in all aspects of her
daily life. This rich beginning is the root of James Denmark’s
He attended Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) in
Tallahassee, Florida on a sports scholarship. While pursuing a
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at FAMU, Denmark came under the tutelage
of the artist and acclaimed African-American art historian, Dr. Samella
Lewis, who exposed him to the great traditions and accomplishments of
the African-American art movement. After graduating from FAMU,
Denmark moved to Brooklyn, New York and began a career as an art
teacher in the public school system.
From 1973 to 1976, Denmark earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the
Pratt Institute of Fine Arts in New York. While at Pratt, Denmark
met and was nurtured by an immensely talented community of artists.
During this period he was heavily influenced by the Abstract
Expressionists and admired such mainstream artists as Jackson Pollock,
Clifford Still, William deKooning. The African-American masters
Norman Lewis, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Ernest Crichlow
instilled in him an appreciation of African/American artistic heritage.
"So much richness reinforced my natural talents," Denmark says of his
growth at Pratt. He likens it to picking up a baton and carrying
it to the next leg---his collages.
Denmark’s work underwent a stylistic transition at this time, and he
began experimenting with collage. Prior to this period, he worked
primarily in watercolors and charcoal.
Denmark has a natural affinity for the difficult and largely
improvisational medium of collage and quickly developed his own unique
and easily identifiable style. With brightly handcolored papers,
fabric and objects, Denmark intends to creates compositions that go
beyond the superficial and transitory and focuses, instead, on what is
eternal and universal.
Denmark’s collages, watercolors, woodcuts and reproductions are
consistently and eagerly sought by galleries and collectors
worldwide. He has had over 60 one-man exhibitions and has
participated in a number of group shows. His level of acclaim is
reflected in the number of prestigious collections in which his works
are represented, most notable that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of
James Denmark lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York and now resides in Yemassee, South Carolina.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts - Massachusetts
Brooklyn Museum - Brooklyn, New York
Contemporary Arts Museum - Houston, Texas
Everson Museum of Art - Syracuse, New York
Flint Institute of Art - Flint, Michigan
High Museum of Art - Atlanta, Georgia
Lever House - New York, New York
Minneapolis Institute of Art - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design -
Providence, Rhode Island
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building -
New York, New York
Orozco Chapel - Guadalajara, Mexico
San Francisco Museum of Art - San Francisco, CA
1993 - CSAP National Resource Center; Poster
1989 - EMI Recording Company; Record Album for Diane Reeves
1987 - New York Urban League; Lithograph
1987 - National Black Bar Association; Collage
1980 - Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Commemorative Poster
1987 - 39th Annual Printing Industy Award given by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
1980 - The Living Legends Award presented by the National Urban League
"...James Denmark is adept in many media - not only the familiar
watercolors and collages, but also sculpture... The gentleness in his
watercolor is matched by the strength and excitement in his collages...
He focuses on basic themes of love, family, the male and the female,
yet he has the ability to go back to these themes each time with a
New York, New York
"...James Denmark has plunged himself, heart and soul into his craft
and as a technician he has mastered the difficult medium of collages.
However, his importance as an artist reaches far beyond that. His work
reveals a deep commitment to restoring us to our dignity as human
beings and as a race. His characteristic use of women as his subject
speaks to another central preoccupation - that of elevating black
womanhood and fostering a new and deeper perception of Beauty"
Savacou Gallery, New
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