Painter/Printmaker/Pastel artist with a national and international record of solo, group, invitational, and competitive art exhibitions.
My artwork has been placed in over 100 permanent collections mainly in the US, but international collections as well.
Please go to www.denisepresnell.com for a comprehensive look at my work and a current resume.
I am a painter/printmaker/pastel artist living and working in western Wisconsin. The strong presence of nature visible in my artwork goes all the way back to childhood in Nebraska and has remained a mainstay in my work regardless of my physical location.
Whether an oil painting on Plexiglas, polyester or canvas, a solar etching, a monotype or a pastel — the content of my artwork revolves around reflection. Sometimes it’s literally water reflections in the form of a monotype or painting. Sometimes it’s a reflective pose of a figure (or figures) in a recognizable space or in an inventive, ambiguous space where the viewer must decide what the story is for themselves. My newest mixed media paintings literally have multiple levels of reflection. The method is oil on Plexiglas mounted over oil pastel on linen matboard. Some of the Plexiglas is left unpainted to reveal the abstract surface below. Those areas literally reflect the outer world while revealing the world beneath the surface of the painting above it. These pieces are meant to be metaphors for our own inner and outer reflections of our selves.
Over the past 5 or 6 years, I have enjoyed being very experimental with my work — moving from medium to medium and mixing two or more mediums to arrive at a satisfying final statement. The result is stronger sense of play in my process. I believe that has generated innovation and a liveliness that was missing from the work of my early years. I give my intuition full reign to direct the energy of any given piece.
I have always considered myself a “colorist”. Often the change or addition of a color can determine whether a piece is finished. Often, my lithographs need at least 15 or more colors before my intuition is satisfied. Color in a photograph can also spark the inspiration to work with an image. My artistic heroines or heroes definitely relied upon color — those being Joan Mitchell, Marc Rothko, Pierre Bonnard, Wolf Kahn, to name a few.
Texture, whether tactile or the illusion of texture, is definitely an equal partner with color in what drives an image. I hope my work sparks the viewer’s sense of touch. I’ve always been one to walk a fine line between representation and abstraction and the emphasis on mark making usually determines how abstract the final image will be.