Al Denyer

Artist Interview
May 23, 2021

What inspired the featured body of work? Did you find yourself working in a new way because of the pandemic?

Simply said, yes the pandemic and the events of this past year has steered the direction of my work.  The Borders and Boundaries Series began in the early part of 2020, and my initial focus was on how borders or boundary lines, both visible and invisible, alter landscapes, in particular as seen through maps and satellite images.  I was looking at maps where borders rendered huge swaths of land empty or uninhabitable spaces, and wanted to draw attention to these.  Through this concept, I started to incorporate the empty spaces in my work.  As the world went into lockdown, and we were all forced to examine our own personal boundaries, my focus shifted and started to incorporate fence lines, as well as imagined protective space.  

 

Can you discuss your process in making your most recent work? The colors featured are notable and an obvious departure from other paintings. Can you talk about this decision?

The green sections in my new body of work represent gardens and green space.  The idea of how important and comforting our domestic green spaces have been to us, yet at the same time represent the freedom of endless fields or rolling hills.  The Millcreek works are directly inspired by a memorable day spent in Millcreek Canyon during the Fall.  I sketched all day surrounded by incredible glowing Fall colors. The shapes in these works are sections from my sketches, and the colors representative of the turning leaves.

 

What do you find inspiration from and how do those things influence or impact your work?

My inspiration comes from many sources.  I’m continually observing, reading, researching, listening to podcasts, sketching and writing.  Ideas for my work are developed as a culmination of all of these.  Quite often I’m working through ideas as I run, piecing things together like a jigsaw.  Each new body of work builds on previous works.

 

Following this exhibition, what projects will you be working on? What direction do you hope to take your works in the future? 

As the academic year is just wrapping up, my most productive studio time is throughout the summer months.  I’m currently working on a project called ‘A Sense of Place’, which examines the concept of belonging, particularly here in the West.  The works I’m creating for this project are a ‘side step’, however they feed into previous bodies of work.  I hope to exhibit the Sense of Place works in the Fall.  I’m also working on a piece that is made of multiple different colored squares, which will be the start of a new body of work.