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Office of Communications and Marketing

Press Release

Benedict College Arts Gallery Presents
James Denmark Art Exhibition

January 31, 2008

Columbia, SC--January 31, 2008--The works of well-known artist James Denmark will be on display in the Ponder Fine Arts Gallery on the campus of Benedict College beginning February 1, 2008. The exhibition will be on display through March 31, 2008. The exhibit features large-scale works by James Denmark. His work is exhibited and collected nationwide.

An opening reception to meet the artist is scheduled for Thursday, February 21, 2008 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. During the opening reception, James Denmark will present an open dialogue session with gallery patrons. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m.  4 p.m. For more information about the exhibition or to arrange tours, contact Mr. Tyrone Geter at (803) 705-4463 or Ms. Vonda K. Wright at (803) 705-4768.

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. Denmark was influenced by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, and by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds. He was profoundly inspired by 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 creative expression.

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's of Fine Arts degree at the prestigious 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. 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 hand colored papers, fabric and objects, Denmark 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 Art. Denmark's works are a part of well recognized private and corporate collections in this country, as well as in Mexico, South Africa, Europe, Japan and Africa.

James Denmark continues to live and work in Yemassee, SC.

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Contacts:
Kymm Hunter, Communications and Marketing Director; 803.705.4519 hunterk@benedict.edu
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366 wigfallc@benedict.edu

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