Photo of John Denniston II taken by Brandon Foushee 2020

Through imagination, observation and memory, John Denniston improvises physically realistic scenes with a sensitivity to the structures of picture making and its ideological implications. Linear perspective and color temperature are manipulated to depict spatial contradictions and narrative chaos as allegories for the United States. By composing paintings out of chaotic abstraction, Denniston opens a surreal sphere of figurative possibilities where introspection meets his anthropological context. Taking on historical problems such as the pitfalls of the enlightenment and the catastrophes of the 20th century challenges the ability of paint and the structures of picture making. Denniston’s paintings are not as instrumentalizable as hard science or life changing philosophy, in fact their merit is in their attempt to take on these topics and yet remaining color on a surface. It is only in the location of art that one may actually work through such heavy concepts as if they were weightless. Art is to philosophy as philosophy is to science, and it is from this perspective that Denniston pressures the structure of painting to generate meaning beyond the depicted. In this space the formal is conceptual, allowing for technical narratives to coordinate with dramatic narratives to form paintings that are dense with historical commentary and intimate with Denniston’s head and hand. 

John Denniston II, April 2022



BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute (2022)

Six Week intensive course with Vincent Desiderio through The Art Digger Lab (2021)

Summer intensive programs at MICA (2016), Academy of Art University (2015) and Art Center College of Design (2013-2014)


In the Bleak Midwinter, group show presented by Swivel Gallery, 2023

Where It Itches Most, group show presented by Major Conflict at SPRING/BREAK art fair, 2022

Crash Site, solo show presented by Swivel Gallery, 2022

Icon Painting, solo show presented by The Emerson, 2022

How Could It Be Once Was, two person thesis exhibition presented by Pratt Institute Steuben Gallery 2022

Labor of Love, Presented by Pratt Institute Dekalb Gallery 2022

As Above So Below, As Within So Without, Presented by Gallery House,, May 2021

Just Things, two person exhibition presented by Pratt Institute Photography Gallery, 2020

Remember Me!, Presented by Gallery House, 2019