Brian Denington is an acute observer of his worlds. Walking into a gallery of his oils, the viewer is confronted with dancers, musicians, nudes, actors and politicians. Immediately one’s curiosity is aroused – these figures engage you, fix you with a look or disregard you altogether, being pre-occupied with something else, but whether they look at you or not it is difficult to look away.
In Dancer in Green, a sitting dancer looks directly out of the canvas at the viewer. She has a beautiful, slightly quizzical expression and a faint smile. Denington has captured her as though in conversation and as the viewer, you just want to continue with the next point. Dancer at the Barre, a much smaller portrait of a dancer resting at the barre, is so powerful you can almost smell the perspiration and sense her body relaxing.
Denington’s work with nudes has the same effect. His small life studies are understated, elegant, almost musical. His large nudes are sensual and have the physicality that makes the viewer feel that if he or she were to touch the arm of the sitter, warmth would flood back.
It is sometimes said that the only people who would buy portraits are those who have commissioned them or who know the subject. The work of Brian Denington contradicts this. To own one of his portraits, nude or clothed and depicting whatever occupation, is to meet and engage with an interesting and captivating fellow human being. One imagines this artist now in a café or bar somewhere in Europe, quietly observing life around him and in the best tradition of figurative painting, he is able to translate the essence of what he sees to the canvas. And we can all thereby join the conversation.
Born in Somerset and trained in fine art, Denington started his career in illustration working freelance for various publishers and agencies in London. At the same time he regularly produced and exhibited his own work with a growing interest in portraiture. Denington has exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and was invited artist at the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Carlow Eigse in Ireland. Later he was engaged as resident artist during the Irish general election campaign. Denington's work can be found in a number of prestigious collections including Warner Brothers USA, Trinity College London and the Office of Public Works Dublin.
Reviews and Articles
Bath Chronicle 7 August 2014