The Greeneville Arts Council and General Morgan Inn are presenting "Kingdom: Wildlife Paintings by Lawrence Danecke" at Mason House Gallery from Monday, Sept. 23, through Friday, Oct. 25.
An opening reception hosted by Artspace4 Gallery will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.
Danecke is a nationally-recognized Greene County fine artist who is having his fifth solo Greeneville exhibition.
With a focus on celebrating the artist's lifelong love of animals, "Kingdom" is comprised exclusively of more than 30 of Danecke's numerous and diverse animal works done in oil, acrylic and watercolor.
As a boy in Chicago, Danecke filled his spare time either rescuing and tending to various animals (to the dismay of his mother) or creating drawings and paintings beside his artistic father doing the same.
In high school, when the local newspaper published Danecke's graphite drawing of a fellow student's horse, he realized the merging of his two passions could bring special recognition.
Danecke studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and graduated from the American Academy of Art, also in Chicago.
Living at home while going to art school afforded Danecke the luxury of caring for an iguana, a rooster, a white pekin duck and a capuchin monkey.
Very soon after beginning his career in commercial art, Danecke was called upon to serve in the armed forces where his artistic talents were used designing and fabricating signage in Vietnam. While he was there Danecke bent the rules a bit and rescued a puppy. Getting her home to Chicago, after completing his service two years later, involved a special trip to Saigon and bureaucratic processing beyond anything Danecke had seen in the army.
Almost immediately after returning stateside, Danecke and his dog set out for South Florida, where he established a long-running career as a commercial illustrator, teacher and single father.
Years of hard work resulted in the purchase of a home with nearly an acre of land on one of the last unpaved roads in Fort Lauderdale, which Danecke turned into his own tropical paradise, replete with plants and animals of all kinds.
Animal residents included the capuchin monkey Danecke's relieved mother had been babysitting for years, as well as peacocks, koi, two Russian wolfhounds, mallard ducks, chickens, geese, a rescued marmoset monkey, Canada geese, cockatoos, grasskeets and a Pomeranian.
The grasskeets and the Pomeranian may be the only animals Danecke brought north with him when he settled in Greeneville five years ago, but the artist still finds an abundance of animal inspiration in East Tennessee.
Regional wild and domesticated animals have been subjects for many of Danecke's most popular and award-winning paintings.
In the past four years, Danecke has had paintings accepted into numerous national juried shows.
His three most recent commissioned pieces have all been animal work - two here in Greeneville and one in Australia.
"I hope my paintings convey not only my love for all animals but my profound respect for them, a trait I find somewhat lacking in the world nowadays," Danecke said in a news release.
In keeping with the artist's undying respect for animals, a silent auction of one of Danecke's paintings will be conducted at the opening reception with all proceeds benefitting the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society.
The Mason House Gallery is located in the lobby of the General Morgan Inn at 111 N. Main St.
For further information on this and other Mason House Gallery exhibits, contact Matilda Green, director of exhibitions, at (423) 329 - 5366.