Warren Dennis was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1927. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern Mississippi and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi. While there, he had the opportunity to study with visiting artists Jack Tworkov and David Smith. He continued his education with a special study under Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the University of Minnesota and another special study in lithography under Reginald Neal at Rutgers University.
Warren began teaching in 1955. His first position was at Judson College in Marion, Alabama. He then took a position with Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he helped recruit a very strong faculty there and helped establish the MFA in Fine and Applied Art. Dennis retired from teaching in 1993. He served as the Chairperson for Appalachian State's Department of Art from 1980 to 1984.
Dennis’ paintings are rendered with an expression of a moment in time or a suggestion of an unspoken feeling or emotion. After a lifetime of painting “ordinary people doing ordinary things” in his elongated style, Dennis in true artist fashion decided to try something new. His cubist paintings are based on the work of Picasso who over 100 years ago created the technique, but unlike Picasso, the paintings of Dennis are more personable and identifiable.
About his cubist-style work, Dennis said, “These came to me in a dream and developed rapidly into drawing studies that evolved into my paintings. My entire body of work is a meditation on the American Spirit which I have seen in its humor, complexity, struggles, and above all, in its unquenchable determination to triumph over adversity. All my work is personal and it all has personality – That’s what I try to get across”.
A respected artist of long-standing, Warren's many exhibitions, solo and group shows, prizes, and awards would make a listing of many pages. His work is represented in many corporate and private collections, including the Hickory Museum of Art's permanent collection. His paintings have been featured on Charles Kuralt's Sunday Morning TV program, as well as in Southern Living Magazine. Dennis passed away in 2021 and his family started the Warren Dennis Legacy, LLC to continue the promotion of his work.