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
As an artist, I crave the sweet moments while working when I slip beneath my own conscious control. While making art, I seek to lose awareness of the outside world and of myself. I am free when working from within, untethered to expectation and thought, even if what comes to the surface is the worst experience of my life.
-Brian David Dennis
Brian David Dennis is a multimedia visual artist. His body of work ranges from large installations to small collages. From immersive to intimate, he extrudes the extraordinary from the common. He's constructed soaring towers of coffee stirrers and presented lost worlds discovered in minute street trash. His imagination manifests wondrous realms from our everyday world.
Much as he rummages for art materials, he plunders the art cannon for influences. The project and the process dictate his sources. His tormented figures refer to Francis Bacon. The installations are direct descendants of Josef Svoboda's stage designs. Minimalist edicts temper his spontaneous chaos. Central to his aesthetic concerns are always balance, tension, and surface. “The piece is the subject, not the content.”
There is a strong autobiographic thread running through his lifelong body of work. The narrative details in earlier projects were shrouded in diffusing layers. With a mature understanding, the confusion and conflict of his past have given way to peace. The always raw and emotive nature of his work is now infused with a powerful honesty.