Denis Gaston, originally from West Virginia, grew up in the flatlands of Florida. He received a Bachelor of Art Degree from the University of Florida in 1968, and worked for twenty years in the graphic design field in Atlanta. In the early 1980s, taking a different direction, Gaston returned to Florida and embarked on a fine art career. In 1986, he moved to Dunedin and opened an art studio, which he continues to maintain.
Gaston’s large scale mixed media pieces employ oil and acrylic, as well as wax, tar, and collage. His work, at once spontaneous and intuitive, draws inspiration from many cultural traditions around the world. Masks and indigenous art hold a special attraction for him.
Ken Rollins, Past Director of the Tampa Museum of Art, states that “Denis Gaston is an important Florida artist, whose paintings address the human spirit in all of its manifestations”.
Lennie Bennett, art critic for the St. Petersburg Times, writes that “Gaston’s paintings have the primal, evocative feel of ancient cave drawings.”
The Tampa Tribune’s Jenny Carey calls Gaston “a dedicated artist whose mixed-media paintings are distinguished and thought provoking.”
In 1990 Gaston was honored with a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, and his art is included in the Florida Art in State Buildings Collection, and the Pinellas County Public Art Collection.
He has participated in hundreds of exhibitions and one can find his work in many private and public collections throughout the United States. In Florida, his art pieces are in the collections of Raymond James Financial Corporation, Holland and Knight Law Firm, All Children’s Hospital, Stetson University College of Law, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg College and the Polk Museum of Art.
Over the years, more and more people are gaining an appreciation of Denis Gaston’s mysterious and thought provoking art.
Additionally, Gaston has been facilitating groups in No More Second-Hand Art since the early 1990’s. Originally begun as classes at Dunedin Fine Art Center and the Gulf Coast Museum of Art, he has since held workshops at Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, the University of Tampa, Tampa Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, and numerous individual groups.
New artistic directions are often born out of necessity and this Morean show allowed me the chance to turn self-imposed limitations into opportunity.
Last year I came into possession of a large number of shadow-box mats that ended up gathering dust in the studio. Being a first class procrastinator, I convinced myself the mats would be of no use, a belief that persisted until faced with the looming deadline of an exhibition. Backed into a corner, I collected my wits and paints and set to work.
This new direction became an opportunity to create a series of small palette-knife paintings on wood panels. The finished panels floated nicely inside the mats and, thanks to the unusual presentation, became the center of attention.
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