April 23, 2016 at Arte Verissima in Oakland.
Solo Exhibition by Dennis Ziemienski
Opening reception April 23, 2016 from 6-9PM
Exhibition on view April 22 – May 29, 2016
Chronicling the iconic signage of local institutions, Dennis Ziemienski explores the vernacular character and fading grandeur of the historical businesses that populate our urban spaces. His lovingly detailed portraits of illuminated neon and glass highlight the fragility of our connection to the past.
Ziemienski recalls, “As a young boy, staring out of my grandmother’s window on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, I was transfixed by a neon football player, above a bar, that would kick the football over and over again. The magic was exposed by my investigation of it during the day. The sign revealed curious tubes of coiled glass that made the image. To this day, I am still fascinated by the art of neon and what it presents both day and night.”
This show is a collection of images from Oakland, Berkeley, Crockett, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
A native San Franciscan, Dennis Ziemienski graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the California College of the Arts. His knack for composition and eye for color gave him a distinctive look, and he was able to establish himself as an illustrator in San Francisco. Wanting to explore more opportunities as an illustrator, he moved to New York in 1980. While there, he flourished as an artist, which eventually led him to a successful career as one of the nation’s top illustrators.
His compelling poster images include the NFL Super Bowl XXIX and the 2006 Kentucky Derby. His paintings were featured on many well-known book covers including, the “Tales of the City” series by Armisted Maupin, and several covers for authors Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke. Ziemienski was the featured cover artist for “Hemispheres”, United Airlines in- flight magazine, the National Lampoon and, more recently, Western Art Collector and the Jackson Hole Traveler.
Ziemienski’s strong and richly colored images borrow much of their inspiration from early 20th century paintings and posters. His early influences, J.C. Leyendecker, N.C. Wyeth, Ludwig Hohlwein and Tom Purvis, were all master designers in composition. The demands of illustration and poster design, with its simplified, sculpturally rendered images, gave Ziemienski the discipline and draftsmanship that give strength to his paintings today.
In 1986 he returned to his roots in California and bought property and settled in the Sonoma wine country. About this time, Ziemienski turned his attention to fine art, when continuous requests of his original images were made and private paintings were commissioned.
Now, Ziemienski paints primarily in oils in an impressionistic realist style. The major influences in his paintings are Maynard Dixon, Frank Brangwyn, Ernest Blumenschein, Edward Hopper and Maurice Logan… interestingly, all were illustrators, at one time, during their art careers.
At his first show at Medicine Man Gallery in Santa Fe, Dennis was pleased to discover that John Dixon, Maynard Dixon’s son, purchased “November Garden”, an oil depicting a figure raking leaves in the yard of an old Santa Fe adobe.
As an Artist member of the California Art Club, he received the Jesse Arms Botke award at the 103rd Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition in 2014. His work has been included in collections at the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, the Booth Western Art Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. It also has appeared in shows at the Tucson Museum of Art, the Autry Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the National Cowboy and Heritage Museum and the Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University. Dennis has taught at the California College of the Arts, and the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
The Gallery is open Friday – Sunday 12-6PM or by appointment.