Warren Dennis was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1927. He received his Bachelor of Art from the University of Southern Mississippi and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi. While there, he had the opportunity to study with visiting artists Jack Tworkov and David Smith. He continued his education with special study under Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the University of Minnesota and special study in lithography under Reginald Neal at Rutgers University.
Warren has been teaching art since 1955. His first position was at Judson College in Marion, Alabama. He then switched to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, until he retired from teaching in 1993. He was the Chairperson for Appalachian State’s Department of Art from 1980 to 1984.
A respected artist of long standing, Warren’s many exhibitions, solo and group shows, prizes and awards would make a listing of many pages. His work is represented in many corporate and private collections, including the Hickory Museum of Art’s permanent collection. His paintings have been featured on Charles Kuralt’s Sunday Morning TV program, as well as in Southern Living Magazine. Warren continues to live and work in Boone, NC.
The human image is obviously the central factor in my work. These figures and faces result from years of effort – a careful honing, by trial and error, to gain a specific effect. By now, these people are all mine. They confront each other, they stand alone in contemplation or amazement, or they are sometimes simply asleep. My concerns are with showing dignity and humor and innocence as they affect us, and with the robust, absurd gestures we make to reveal ourselves. With our backs to each other or face-to-face, we show and try to hide our feelings.
I would like for these paintings to go beyond the image, to involve the viewer in a pure way. Even though the figures are distorted, I hope the public is confronted by these people as if they were real people. This sense of dramatic presence is what I always work toward.