DANIEL CHARLES DEMPSTER, CA|
Painting at Terranea
Vicente Bluffs Reserve
University of Waterloo
Professional Memberships and Appointments
Copley Society of Art, Copley Artist
Bermuda Arts Council, Treasurer (past)
Bermuda Society of Arts, Vice-President (past)
Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, Fellow
Born in Montreal and raised in Bermuda, Dan Dempster now lives in Palos Verdes, California with his wife and two young sons. Mr. Dempster has been a full-time artist for over twenty-five years, his first solo exhibition at Bacardi International in Bermuda in 1991. All his explorations in drawing, painting and sculpture are based on deep familiarity with the water, having grown up in, on and under the ocean surrounding Bermuda.
Mr. Dempster is a professional artist member of the Copley Society of Art, the oldest non-profit art association in the United States, with a history dating back to 1879. He is also an artist member of the Cambridge Art Association and the Bermuda Society of Arts.
His work has won Best in Show at the Bermuda Society of Arts, been selected for Biennials of the Bermuda National Gallery and won Best Painting award at the New Hampshire Institute of Art Biennial. His pieces are in the collections of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, HSBC Bank of Bermuda, Banque de Montreal, Swiss Re, the Coral Beach Club and other private collections.
His weathered sculpture was shown in New York by Fulcrum Gallery SoHo from 1994 to 2004 in over 30 group shows and two solo shows. He has been Vice-President of the Bermuda Society of Arts, Treasurer of the Bermuda Arts Council and is a Fellow of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. He taught figure drawing in Bermuda from 1993-2003.
Mr. Dempster participated in the British Red Cross "Art for Humanity" 2005 exhibition at the German Embassy in London, and has supported charity events for the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy, Little Sisters of the Poor, Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, the Bermuda National Gallery and Big Brothers of Ottawa among others.
The gift of art, its challenge and responsibility in this age of information overload, is giving peace of mind and freedom from self.
We perceive people, places and events distorted through the lens and filters of our opinions and preferences - what is actually happening and what we think is going on are two entirely different things. This causes pain to ourselves and harm to others. It is only when we are able to let go of ourselves that we can truly see what's going on.
Peace of mind is found in moments when we forget ourselves, lost in awe of the beauty of nature, for instance. By showing the spectacular in the mundane, it has been my practice to show this can be done anywhere, anytime, with anything. Looking deeply, time and scale cease to be relevant. By taking the time to pay attention, we unknot our minds, and learn to see again, as children do, the magic of our surroundings.
Isamu Noguchi wrote that selection and placement can make sculpture of anything, even an old shoe. Rodin, regarding his partial figures as finished works, commented that, "Beauty is like God; a fragment of beauty is complete!" Agnes Martin in "Beauty is the Mystery of Life" wrote, "When your eyes are open, you see beauty in everything... Blake's right about there's no difference between the whole thing and the one thing."
But where Martin sought the expression of perfection in an ideal, I seek the expression of perfection in the beauty of things as they are. Where she wrote that artwork is enjoyed or not depending on the condition of the viewer, I believe it is possible, indeed the artist's responsibility, to quiet and bring peace to the viewer's mind.
Artists know our best work is created when we lose ourselves in the process already mastered. The boundaries between artist, subject and artwork dissolve - there is only the seeing and doing without thinking - what is created is a window to that state. Free of ego, it contains nothing to disturb the viewer, who can then access that state, that great peace of mind.
The largest canvas, the most beautiful painting, the most amazing sculpture, is the clear perception of one's own mind. Not merely what is imagined or reflected in it, but the joy of seeing the clarity and vastness of one's mind as no different from the clarity and vastness of our surroundings. That is what my work seeks to point out. When we can see both our mind and environment in this light, we literally and figuratively bring balance and perspective to our lives and to the lives of others.
Selected Review Excerpts
Fountain Gallery show is the best of the year "Eight of Bermuda's leading artists are now to be seen at the Desmond Fountain Gallery in the Emporium Building on Front Street. For the most part they are either at the top of their form or have broken new personal ground.
Most notable in the latter category is Daniel Dempster. In one sense he has gone back to his undoubted talent for interpreting shallow water, its dynamics and its plays of light. Where he used to work in chalk he has now taken to oils and the result is little short of dramatic. His star turn is "Wet Sands, Grape Bay: where he catches the evening light in reflection over an expanse of rising tide spread smoothly over almost flat sand. His perception of light and colour is as faultless as his well-known technique and sense of composition.
Almost in the same league is "Sunbeam, South Shore." Here the artist catches a glimmer of afternoon sun in water that is for the most part shaded by summer clouds. The warm glow imparts surprising warmth to an otherwise cool painting. One of the more exciting works is "Portents, South Shore" where Mr. Dempster, long known for his mastery of ripples of calm water, tackles with complete confidence and success tangled water breaking at the edge of a roiled sea."
Water dazzles in sea scenes of area artist "The drawings, paintings and sculptures that result may make you look at this neglected miracle of light, color and movement as if you had never seen it before... "Waterline" reproduces a shallow rivulet of tidal water with a startling degree of realism. It's almost as if you were standing barefoot near the shoreline, watching the water and light undulate in patterns across the sand under your toes...
Dempster is the artist as seer, in fact... finding mystery in the commonplace - then stepping out of the way as his audience looks on in wonder. In his drawings, he accomplished that aim through the persuasive argument of spectacularly keen-eyed detail."
"... Soft, gentle pastel drawings with which Mr. Dempster has already distinguished himself. The play of light through the water is this artist's chosen instrument and on it he plays with talent and versatility... another skein of light shimmering through the water washing through the interstices of flat, cracked rocks, demonstrates the artist at the height of his talent. The skill with which he blends the fluid with the firm and renders patterns of light as counterpoint to the formations and fissures of in the rock is modestly downplayed by the gentlest of eyes and a nearly monochromatic colour scheme. It is the balance of Ying and Yang forces resulting in a natural peace remarkably satisfying to both life and spirit."
"The work in the show, however, that really brings you to a halt on your first quick turn around the gallery is that of Daniel Dempster. The work consists almost entirely of the pattern of light on the gentle ripples of water over a sandy bottom and rendered with the most exacting precision. This is emphasised and set off by a small area of dark rocks, loosely rendered for contrast. That is all there is. It is both powerful and restful at the same time and the sandy greys of the almost monochrome colour scheme are at once warm and cool. The result is almost hypnotic and I was by no means the only viewer at the crowded opening evening to return to it again and again."
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 "In the Style Of" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA 2017 "Summer Members" Palos Verdes Art Center, CA 2016 "Biennial 2016" Bermuda National Gallery, Hamilton, Bermuda
2015 "Un.ex.pec.ted" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2015 "South Bay Focus" Torrance Art Museum, CA
2014 "Holiday" Palos Verdes Art Center, CA
2012 "New England Perceived" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2012 "Art: The Bermuda Festival" Bermuda National Gallery
2011 "Beautiful Things" Windjammer II Gallery, Bermuda
2011 "Summer" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2011 "White Lights" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2011 Desmond Fountain Gallery, Bermuda
2010 "Beautiful Things" Windjammer II Gallery, Bermuda
2010 "BLUE" Cambridge Art Association, MA
2010 "Wanderlust" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2009 "Get the Lead Out 2" Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
2009 "Biennial 2009" New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, NH
2009 "Shimmer" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2008 "New Members Show" Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
2006 "Bacardi Limited Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery
2005 "Autumn" Desmond Fountain Gallery, Bermuda
2005 "Art for Humanity" Red Cross Art Auction, London
2004 "Windswept" installation w. C. Trott, Government House, Bermuda
2004 "Bacardi Limited Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery
2003 "Art: New Genre" Bermuda National Gallery
2002 "Bacardi Limited Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery
2001 "Julie Coash & Dan Dempster" Burnaby Gallery, Bermuda
2000 "Bacardi Limited Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery
1999 "Miniatures" Windjammer Gallery, Bermuda
1998 "Bacardi Limited Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery
1998 "Sculpture: 3D" Charles Sumner Museum, Washington, D.C.
1996 "Second Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery, Hamilton
1996 "3rd Bienniale of Painting" Museo de Arte Moderno, Sto. Domingo
1994 "In Celebration of Excellence: First Biennial" Bermuda National Gallery
1994 "Dempster, Fugate-Wilcox & Kobayashi" Fulcrum Gallery SoHo, NYC
1993 "Context" w. Jodie Tucker-Webster, Bermuda Society of Arts
1992 "Winter" Galerie Atelier, Philadelphia. PA
1991 "September" Heritage House, Hamilton, Bermuda
1986 Kitchener-Waterloo Society of Artists at KW|AG, Canada
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2015 "Mullions & Moonlight" Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
2008 "Tidepools: Fractal Shallows" M2L, Boston, MA
2005 "Sky, Sand & Sea" Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
2005 "Dan Dempster: New Oils" Bermuda Society of Arts
2002 "En Plein Air" Oil Paintings" Bermuda Society of Arts
2002 "ART" Bermuda Festival, for the play by Jasmina Reza
2001 "Sunbeams - Oil Paintings" Bermuda Society of Art
1999 "Grape Bay" Bermuda Society of Arts
1999 "Grape Bay" Masterworks Gallery, Bermuda
1998 "Waterworks" District of Columbia Arts Center, Washington, D.C.
1998 "Ithuriel" Emory University, Atlanta, GA
1997 "Bermuda Shallows: Drawings" Nicholas Lusher Fine Art, Bermuda
1997 "Timewrack and Tide" Fulcrum Gallery SoHo, New York, NYC
1997 "Waterworks" Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News, VA
1996 "Ithuriel" Bermuda Society of Arts, Bermuda
1996 "Iron Moss" Masterworks Gallery, Bermuda
1996 "The Water Planet" Fulcrum Gallery SoHo, New York, NYC
1994 "Out of Context" The Clocktower Building, Bermuda
1991 "Waterworks" Bacardi International, Bermuda
Government House, Bermuda
Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, Bermuda
HSBC The Bank of Bermuda
Colonial Insurance Limited, Bermuda
The Coral Beach Club, Bermuda
Cox, Hallet, Wilkinson, Bermuda
Yeoman International Leasing, Dublin
G.J. Maloney & Co., Dublin
Selected Reviews & Articles:
Andrew Trimingham, "Fountain Gallery show is the best of the year" The Royal Gazette. Tuesday, November 8, 2005.
Rene Hill, "New show - and new focus - for artist Dempster" The Royal Gazette. 21 September, 2005. pp. 33, 35. photos.
Gareth Finighan, "A Show with a difference" The Royal Gazette. 08 January 1998. p11.
Spotlight "Dan Dempster at Fulcrum" Gallery Guide, New York, November 1997.
Emma Mitchell, "Nature of Things" The Mid-Ocean News. 05 December 1997. p10.
"Art and Fashion Tribute with Miss Russia, Anna Malova" Manhattan Magazine, Summer 1997. photos pp. 38-40, 47
Mark St. John Erickson, "Water dazzles in sea scenes of area artist" Daily Press, NN. VA. Sunday, May 25, 1997. pp I1, 3. photos.
Peter Barton, "Sensational Evidence and Sensual Reflections." Essay in "Waterworks." PFAC, Virginia 1997.
Dr. J. Bowyer Bell, "Dan Dempster: Timewrack and Tide, The Alchemy of Actual Art." Fulcrum, New York. 14 Feb. 1997.
Andrew Trimingham, "Less is more at BSoA" The Mid-Ocean News. 06 December 1996. p10.
Andrew Trimingham, "Maximum pleasure from minimalist show" The Mid-Ocean News. 29 Nov 1996.p13.
Raymond Hainey, "Dempster's work worth a look, or maybe a dip" The Royal Gazette. 18 Nov 1996. p17.
Danny Sinopoli, "Beauty of Dempster's decay" The Royal Gazette. 24 April 1996. p17.
Andrew Trimingham "Dempster's steel show proves 'restful, energising'" The Mid-Ocean News. 01 Mar96 p14.
Catherine Draycott "Solo in SoHo" The Bermudian Magazine. February 1996. p17-19. photo
"Tactical Thinking" Column. Preview Magazine. April - October 1999.
"Hurricane Season: Tactical Thinking in the Information Age" Essay. Mensa Bulletin, the Magazine of American Mensa, Houston, Texas. September 1997, No. 409. cover photo.
"Arts Help Heal Bermuda's Identity Crisis" Essay. The Bermudian Magazine. May 1995.
"The Art of Bruce Stuart" Essay introduction. 94 pages. Ltd. edition, hardcover & softcover. Carter & Carter, Oakville, Ontario, Canada. 1992.
"Bacardi Limited Biennial" The Bermuda National Gallery. Catalogues: 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006.
"Dan Dempster: "Waterworks"" 1990-1997. ISBN 1-886845-03-4. Softcover, 20 pages, 12 colour plates, essay by Peter Barton. Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, P.O. Box 6438, Newport News, VA 23606.
"3rd Bienniale of Painting of the Carribean and Central America" Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo. Catalogue.
"New York Contemporary Art Galleries" Renee Phillips, Manhattan Arts, New York, NY.
"Guide to Galleries, Museums and Artists" Art in America.
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