Jambalaya Deux

The artwork of Diane Britton-Dunham & James Denmark

Beach Bums (Gullah Creole Trio) by Diane Britton-Dunham

It’s a bit of dis and a lil bit o dat, it’s going to be HAWT, oh yeah! This gallery show at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center, Jambalaya Deux, features influences from the Sea Islands’ Gullah, to Louisiana’s Congo Square — as the title implies, anything good goes in the pot.

The opening reception will be held Friday, August 5, 6 to 8 p.m., free to the public with music by Phil Griffin. Meet the glamorously earthy Lowcountry painter Diane Britton-Dunham and the evocative, world-renown collagist James Denmark. Both artists have a taste for multi-media spices and both are based in Beaufort. The gallery is free to browse Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, call 843-379-2787, go online at www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org, or visit 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC, 29902.

Diane’s paintings are well known because of their brilliant coloring, intricate human and landscape forms, and themes that represent life in South Carolina’s Low Country region and the bayous of Louisiana. A self-taught mixed media artist and instructor, Dunham has received honors and awards from organizations like the Artisan Center, the Gullah Festival, and the Beaufort Art Association and others.
Diane said for this exhibit she will be focusing on connecting the Gullah and Creole cultures. Her mixed-media art includes pastels, water color, acrylics and ink and pen. She said she’s excited to display a mixture of everything — from abstract work to conventional pieces — without strict mediums.
“It’s a little bit of everything, that’s why it’s called Jambalaya,” she declared.
Diane said she changed directions after her sister passed away recently. “I want my pieces to reflect the lightness of spirit and soul … to reflect freedom of the body.”

James Denmark was born in Winter Haven, Fla., on March 23, 1936, into a family of artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds, and his mother who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail which she expressed in all aspects of her daily life. This rich beginning is the root of James Denmark’s creative expression.
He attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida on a sports scholarship. While pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Art at FAMU, Denmark came under the tutelage of the artist and acclaimed African-American art historian, Dr. Samella Lewis, who exposed him to great traditions and accomplishments of the African -American art movement. After graduating from FAMU, Denmark moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., and began a career as an art teacher in the public school system.
From 1973 to 1976, Denmark earned his Master of Fine Art Degree at the prestigious Pratt Institute of Fine Art in New York. While at Pratt, Denmark met and was nurtured by an immensely talented community of artists. During this period he was heavily influenced by such abstract expressionists as Jackson Pollack, Clifford Still, Willem de Kooning. He began experimenting with collage. Prior to this period, he worked primarily in watercolors and charcoal.
Denmark has a natural affinity for the difficult and largely improvisational medium of collage and quickly developed his own unique and easily identifiable style. With brightly hand colored papers, found papers, fabric and objects, Denmark creates compositions that go beyond the superficial and transitory and focuses, instead, on what is eternal and universal.
James Denmark and his wife, Ethel, now enjoy living in rural Yemassee, South Carolina.

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