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By: Gail Obenreder
Sculptor Dennis Beach began his studies as an engineer, a skill that enables him to transform wood – his material of choice – into the sinuous and complex shapes that are his hallmarks. Keenly observing nature, Beach likes to abstract and synthesize its shapes, colors and repetitions into works that are “both visually exciting and contemplative.”
The movement in his artworks seems to parallel the movement in his early life – his father’s work as an engineer led family to live in many places, including three years in Japan. Beach was in the sixth grade when the family moved to Tokyo, a formative time, and “some of what I absorbed from there is definitely part of how and why I create now.”
Beach attended Montgomery College and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and received his MFA from the University of Delaware. Early on, he was influenced by minimalist contemporary artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Anne Truitt and Richard Serra. And he still feels that “it is important to see what other artists are doing,” whether they are working in proximity to his practice or very differently. So as well as keeping up with fellow artists in Delaware and Philadelphia, the Wilmington resident travels frequently to New York.
The sculptor has mounted 15 solo exhibitions and participated in 27 group shows, and his work is in the collections of institutions like Comcast (Philadelphia) and the Delaware Art Museum, but Beach continues to seek new artistic avenues. A welcome challenge is discovering ways to fabricate and engineer his complex pieces, and he has recently been using Adobe Illustrator coupled with a CNC router (computer-controlled) to construct his works more efficiently.
When he’s not in his studio, Beach enjoys biking, and he also finds that the diverse live music scene in Wilmington and Philadelphia “both motivates me and allows the mind freeing time to expand on ideas.” The Fellowship Award will allow him to expand his studio to work on larger pieces, and he’s excited to complete and to share several projects now underway.