Solo exhibition | Scottsdale, AZ
Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to present a new exhibition for Dennis Ziemienski, Arizona Postcard, February 1-13, 2021.
Join us for the Reception Thursday, February 4 from 7-9pm at our Scottsdale gallery location.
From the 1940s through the 1980s, people would take road trips and purchase decals along the way, sticking them to their station wagons to advertise where they’d been. My new paintings, inspired by these travel decals, join other works based on my ongoing interest in travel memorabilia—vintage postcards, photographs and posters. Suited to the Scottsdale setting of this show, the paintings serve as a travelogue through Arizona. Arizona Cowgirl Decal encapsulates this new take on travel imagery, standing tall and smiling as she is, an ambassador of the state.
People—myself included—are proud of the fact that we have been to these places and we can tell stories about them. When you’re driving along and you see the car beside you on the freeway with decals in their rear window, you think, ‘Oh, look! They’ve been to Yellowstone or Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida.’ The decals evoke stories. This all harkens back to my roots in illustration: Illustrators tell stories and I try to do the same with my paintings. Whether painting or illustrating, I place elements so that they are pleasing to my eye, and the icing on the cake is that they are pleasing to someone else. Simplicity is my perennial goal; the simplicity of focusing on a main feature. Consider the painting of Coffee Pot Rock in Sedona. The rock is the focus and the group of cowboys or tourists on horseback stand silhouetted against, and subordinate to, the outcropping. Or the Lake Powell painting: You have the lake and the countryside that surrounds it, but the speedboat takes precedence. That’s the first thing you see. I try not to clutter paintings up too much. The perspective is not as appealing when you put too many things into it. I prefer a worm’s-eye view as well; you are right there, boat level on Lake Powell or looking up at the Cactus Motel neon sign in Route 66 Decal. Simplicity, seen from a worm’s perspective, is the primary feature of my compositions.
Beyond nostalgia, I hope these paintings point toward the future. What with the pandemic, it’s going to be hard for us all to feel comfortable about traveling the way we once did. Hopefully, these paintings will recall good times of travel and makes people think, ‘I’m going to do that again,’ while at the same time celebrating the sites you’ve already seen and the stories you’ve collected.
Contact the gallery for details: firstname.lastname@example.org, (480) 949-1256.