Brian was born in 1959. He was raised in a home with movable walls designed by his father, an aspiring artist. The openness and fluidity of the modular arrangement captured Brian’s imagination. His mother, a kindergarden teacher encouraged Brian’s free thinking and constant building.
As a student Brian considered following his passion for stage design, but sought the more personal expression the fine arts offered. He studied drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy. He quickly settled into collage and assemblage. In the mid 80’s he began to explore installation using the exhibition location as an essential part of the piece.
A life long resident of Pennsylvania, Brian has lived and worked in Philadelphia since 1984 with his life partner Keith Breitfeller. He began exhibiting with the cooperative gallery, Vox Populi and remained an active member for 15 years. He has held solo exhibits in Austria, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Sande Webster Gallery as well as a prestigious Fleisher Challenge. He has been granted an Independence Foundation Fellowship and other awards. In 2016 he was commissioned by Longwood Gardens.
Video by Phil Stein, 2014
My goal is two fold, obviously I want to create something that presents a beauty and truth. Second, and what is personally most important is the act of making. While working I become focused only on the matter in hand and I experience a wholeness with the world. Ironically, the results express the ethos of an outsider, things are hidden or so obscured it is often difficult to know what you are seeing. This outcome is very akin to my experience when I am making. I am vaguely aware of a liquid consciousness, passing snippets of something dissolving and reforming, all just out of range of knowing. It is this realm that directs my work.
Transcendence is also important to my work, not only the experience of Making, but also for the materials to become other then what they were. I am drawn to use common materials that I strive to push beyond their original context. I do the same with the photographic images I appropriate. They are chosen usually not by their subject matter, but by a shape or color that interests me, a form that may capture the realm floating in my peripheral vision.
-Brian David Dennis