Rodney Denne artwork

Rodney E. Denne (RED) 

Contemporary, large scale abstract paintings

Learn More About Rodney Denne

Rodney E. Denne (RED) is an established Detroit artist. He is well-known for creating dynamic contemporary figurative and abstract paintings.

Born in 1971, Denne was drawn to art at a very early age. Years of service in the US Air Force has influenced his work. His emotional, large-scaled figures encapsulate viewers through their textural patterns. After serving in the military, Denne mentored under artist Bob Jacobson. He received a BA in Art and Religious Studies from Saint Mary’s College. He then gained gallery representation at the age of 27.

According to Denne:

 “I am nature; a part of all things. My art must come from within. I am also a product of urban and suburban environments and try to capture that feeling in my paintings. Within the background of my paintings, I use the images and words of mysticism, religion, myth and the Divine unknown. I use many colors, but I am also drawn to black and white.” 

Each painting’s title reflects a personal connection to Denne’s past and present. For example, he draws influence from the mid-century European art movement COBRA. His work also falls in line with artists such as Paul Klee, Franz Klein, Bob Thompson, CY Twombly, Jean-Michael Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and William De-Kooning.

Denne describes himself as an abstract expressionist and a contemporary figure painter. For instance, his mid-century modern style infused with his personal experiences creates dramatic compositions.


Denne creates his bold pieces by using an unusual technique with oil sticks. Consequently, this allows him to produce expressive line work, layering texture, and unique imagery.  Additionally, he ventured into collage in 2007. In his own words, “I work on both painting styles at one time, divided by the figure and color, as well as black and white. I find the need to fulfill both desires in the creation of my paintings.

Throughout his career, Denne has created a large body of work. He uses both vibrant colors and thick mono-chromatic texture. In his collage and more works, he adds imagery of cars, nature, robotics, and the human body to symbolize grounding. In his highly textured black and white paintings, bold abstract figure-like shapes juxtapose delicate background patterns.

Rodney E. Denne states, “I paint because I must. It is in me; it is alive and must be reconciled and fulfilled.” 

The works of art that have given Denne international recognition can be found in select fine art galleries and private collections throughout the United Sates as well as Europe.

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