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  • Writer's pictureSheldon

The Time Between: The Atmospheric Landscapes of Dennis Sheehan

In the mid 1800s a group of French painters began painting landscapes inspired directly from nature. It was as much a revolt and revolution as anything imagined by today's youth, an approach to painting which flew in the face of the fashionable and accepted Romantic approach of the time, which strove to utilize nature as a backdrop and allegory to the struggles of the human spirit as opposed to a subject in its own right. In the 1960s a young Dennis Sheehan began staging a revolution of his own; a harkening back to this realist, nature centered, approach in revolt against the prevailing trends of abstraction and postmodern deconstruction which he saw taking root in the art world.

"A Place to Rest" ( 18x24)

Born in Boston in 1950 Sheehan grew up as the second of four brothers. As is the case with many artists he was always, always, interested in art and had his mind made up to become a painter the first time his father took him to the Boston MFA as a child. His father was endlessly supportive, taking the young painter to museums and galleries and encouraging his creative experimentation. Sheehan's mother would halfheartedly argue that he go into something more practical - business or banking - but even she was won over by her young son's passion and clear talent.

"December Dusk" (30x30)

Sheehan pursued his study of art at the Vesper George School of Art and the Montserrat School of Visual Art under the tutelage of Robert Douglas Hunter and the indomitable Jean Gabin. While in school he developed his signature deft hand and his fascination with the transitional periods of life - the changing seasons, changing times of day - always attempting to catch nature in a split second of indecisive luminosity. He employs much of the same techniques as the Barbizon and Realist painters before him; a muted color palette, a dark romanticism, and a smoky approach to distances which renders his pieces as ephemeral as they are exacting images of a landscape caught in a moment in time.

"Passing Storm" (16x20)

Sheehan pays the most attention to the light areas of his work, pulling the eye and rendering the reflections, but it is the darkness of his works which make his pieces so phenomenal. They capture the imagination of everyone who sees them and have made Sheehan one of the foremost painters of classical landscape in our time. His works are featured in the private collection of the White House as well as the personal collections of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He is a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and recently began offering free video classes on his facebook page "Sheehan Academy". He lives in the New England countryside with his family.

"Near The End" (10x20)

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