In Dennis Ziemienski’s new show “Celebrating Our National Parks” at Altamira Fine Art, our parks are monumental. Man’s presence, for the most part, is small and humbling. In every image, you’ll find homage and acknowledgement that they, the parks, were here before us; and they, not us, are Earth’s great achievements.
DENNIS ZIEMIENSKI: CELEBRATING OUR NATIONAL PARKS, is on exhibit at Altamira Fine Art in Jackson, Wyoming, August 15-27, with an opening reception on Thursday, August 18, 5-8:00 pm.
As I write, 11 works from the show are posted on Altamira’s website; two have already sold. Ziemienski’s painting has always been marked by an appreciation of all things vintage. At times I’ve felt his work can be a little too obvious, but in this show, being obvious about color, scale and our precious parks is the point. These are spectacular tributes to some of America’s greatest treasures: Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, Arches National Park, Glacier , Yosemite and Devil’s Tower National Monument. This year is the National Park Centennial, and if you are one of the millions whose lives are deeply affected by personal park experience; if these wild and gorgeous places have made their mark on your soul, then you are bound to be transported by this tremendous exhibit.
Works reflect National Parks grandeur and scale. Ziemienski’s smallest painting measures 18 x 24″, and the largest canvas is 36 x 48″.
“The stunning beauty, history and wildlife provides an unlimited source of inspiration and subject matter for my paintings.” ~ Dennis Ziemienski
Growing up near Yosemite, I spent many summers there. Two decades ago I moved to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park; stepping off the plane here for the first time my pulse quickened, stunned by the Tetons’ visual impact. Those halcyon summer months spent at Yosemite’s lakes, beneath the waterfalls, hiking valleys, camping in the pines~~I can smell it. I thought I’d lost that sense memory forever. Thank goodness, I was wrong.
Ziemienski, always inspired by early 20th century travel posters, aims to re-visit the awe he’s felt when visiting our parks.
“I decided that I wanted to honor our National Parks with a series of paintings depicting some of my favorite places. I feel that the establishment of the National Park system was one of the wisest and most enduring acts of our country,” says the artist. “The stunning beauty, history and wildlife provides an unlimited source of inspiration and subject matter for my paintings. I wanted to recreate this feeling in my paintings for the Centennial of the National Park Service.”
Ziemienski’s magnificent painting “Stone Bridge over the Merced,” shown at the top of this post, recalls one of Yosemite’s most famous artists: Chiura Obata. The immigrant Japanese artist had a decades-long love affair with the park. His fascinating life included being confined as a war refugee and a post as a prominent Berkeley arts professor. Obata’s is a great American story about the deep connection between human souls and place.
Of Obata’s passion for Yosemite, California Historical Society Director of Exhibitions and curator Jessica Hough wrote:
“I think Obata’s experience with Yosemite is representative of the kind of power the place has over people and how creative people over time –Ansel Adams, John Muir, Lucy Parker, Carlton Watkins — have been entranced.”
Ziemienski’s collective show “Celebrating Our National Parks” is representative of that power, too; a reflection of that deep connection between human souls and place. www.altamiraart.com