Book Launch: Jim Denomie’s Sketch Work

Sketch Work, 2020

Jim Denomie’s paintings are instantly recognizable for their animated colors and brush work depicting social, political and historical narrative, spiritual and erotic dreamscape, and creative portraiture. Beneath those vivid paintings are ideas often first captured as sketches. The new book, Jim Denomie: Sketch Work (Rez Rabbit Press, 2020) offers a glimpse into the more private experiences of Denomie’s imaginings, travels, dreams, and losses—both personal and societal. Featuring 174 sketches made over decades, essays by fellow artist Andrea Carlson and curator Robert Cozzolino, and an introduction by Denomie, this volume adds another layer to the understanding of the art work and the artist himself.

study for Oz, The Emergence, 2015

In his contribution to the book, Robert Cozzolino, Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings, Minneapolis Institute of Art, writes:

It is not surprising to see that Jim’s large narrative paintings develop from sketches, parts and sections growing out of inspired drawings eventually forming dynamic relationships in a shared landscape. These vignettes originate in quick ink drawings composed of lines that reveal their agitated and urgent transcription from intangible thought to present image. In other hands, those fiery sparks of inspiration might lose their volatile immediacy when scaled up into a painting. Yet it is instructive to see how Jim has been attentive to the shift in materials, allowing sharp staccato ink ideas to have new life in sticky imprecise paint. There they retain the sense of life and emotional purpose of the line drawings while manifesting a transformation to the polyphonic language of paint.

Vatican Cafe, 2014
study for Vatican Café, 2012

Purchase a copy at a book launch event with the artist at Bockley Gallery on Thursday July 29, 2021, online at Rez Rabbit Press, or in person at Birchbark Books.

Jim Denomie (left) at the Sketch Work book launch, with poet Heid E. Erdrich, gallerist Todd Bockley, gallery manager Emily Marsolek, and artist Jonathan Thunder
photo courtesy Jonathan Thunder