MASTER ARTIST OF TIME TRAVEL
BY DANIEL JOHNSON
JANUARY | 2022
Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. An artist that pushes the genre to its limits while also masterfully embodying the core of the discipline is Marc Dennis. Beyond just creating beautiful pieces of hyperrealistic art, Dennis also applies his unique twist to the already bold genre by bringing old masters' works into the modern-day, allowing the current generation to find a new appreciation for classic art.
“99% of the work I do is oil on canvas or linen,” Marc says when asked what mediums he primarily chooses to work.
Marc Dennis was born in Danvers, Massachusetts in 1972, and was one of five sons. His mother often encouraged him to play outside, as most mothers of five boys would, thus fueling his inquisitive nature as a byproduct. During his excursions, he would explore the woods and unearth stones to see what creatures lay beneath.
Dennis never seriously considered art as a career, although he was curious about the craft. When his mother spotted his interest, she took him to receive lessons from a woman in his town where he could expound on his curiosity about animals, nature, and art. The husband of his teacher was a taxidermist and allowed Dennis to take some of his mounts home to draw and study. His art education eventually led to Dennis drawing things for his classmates, and even receiving payment for his work at quite a young age. He states his genuine appreciation, “I feel blessed that people actually like what I do.”
At 15 and a half years of age, Dennis was arrested for something particularly serious. When he found himself in court for the case against him he was asked quite a generic question, one that many people have since queried, ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’. When the judge leaned forward to make this inquiry, his response was, “Your honor, every day is a lifetime.” This profound and distinct remark put an end to the line of questioning then and is a response Dennis offers those who are still unoriginal enough to presently ask.
Among Dennis’s extensive catalog is a piece titled, “From a Close Distance,” a painting that contains a woman in a blue dress, found amongst an array of polaroids of the same woman, all against a paint-strewn wall. The piece in the center is his re-creation of a famous work by French painter Anges-Louis Janet. Dennis comments on the construction of the piece and its meaning to him, “The painting at the center is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is one of my favorite paintings in the world,” Dennis goes on, “I thought if I could paint that, repaint it so to speak, as if it appears on my studio wall surrounded by the process of which I work.”
Another piece that was discussed during the Vibe2Vibe interview with host Tori Indeed was, “The Joy of Painting''. Dennis speaks of the piece’s relationship to the pandemic, how during the peak of COVID while everyone was quarantined, people were sending each other text messages. The piece was a commentary of sorts on how people weathered the pandemic. Dennis added post-it notes in the painting, including some of the messages that he received. Each artifact that made its way into the piece was an expression of his love for those who kept in contact during the tough time. Other images can also be found in the cacophony of post-its, letters, and polaroids. One such image is of the infamous banana sold at Art Basel. Dennis’s re-creation of the banana was his way of exposing it as something of a farce, and how potentially decadent the $250,000 “piece” selling meant to the art world.
Time has a substantial effect on the concepts that direct Dennis’s work. A piece of his childhood, bits of artists like Van Gough, and even his ancestry can all be seen influencing everything he creates. Dennis’s work seems to brilliantly transcend the limitations of time in many ways.
The professional artist and art professor is dealing in time yet again with his current, “Holocaust Projects” which he will be including in his curriculum at Elmira University in New York where he teaches. To find out more about this incredible project head to his website at https://marcdennis.com/projects/holocaust-projects/