Dennis Bertram

Skyships Reclaim

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Artist Statement

In the year 2000, I began with small, highly simplified drawings and paintings of single houses, churches and other structures. I then combined these images into larger paintings of ever greater complexity. The compositions and their complexity were driven by the concept of the complexity of living and the missteps experienced making decisions which do not result in expected outcomes. Over time the imagery evolved to where the structures coalesced into what I term “skyships.” Most recently, the skyships have traveled from their own abstract domain to other paintings which originally had realistic imagery. The realistic imagery is defaced and the skyships are superimposed, a process I dub “reclaim.” Initially, this process was a reflection on ideas of reuse and revitalization, in this case through the recycling of older paintings, along with underscoring the supremacy of my skyship imagery within my painting oeuvre. But as I worked through the series the paintings became an allegory for the experiences of invading, destroying, taking, dominating and assimilating.

February 3, 2015

Born in the Netherlands but growing up mostly in southern Indiana, USA, Dennis Bertram’s early interest in art was sidetracked for studies in zoology, medicine and public health. He returned to art in the mid-1990’s initially part-time and now full-time. He is best known for abstract oil paintings with complex imagery consisting of multivarious, imaginative architectonic structures. Recently he has broadened out to include working with leather and imagery inspired by the iconography of the American West. In 2008, he was among 66 artists selected from across New York State to participate in the New York Foundation for the Arts MARK program, a program to teach professional artists the business side of art. He maintains a studio at Buffalo Arts Studio in Buffalo, New York. More work can be found at his website,