23 May - 11 June 2013
about the exhibition
Dean Bowen’s works are characterised by vibrant colour, environmental symbolism and dynamic composition. His depictions of objects, people, insects and animals share the artist’s quirky and infectious sense of humour whilst also reminding us of our common struggles and triumphs. Dean also plays with aspects of scale reflecting on both the monumental as well as the miniature, often merging and juxtaposing the two. This exhibition features a comprehensive selection of his bronze sculptures complemented by paintings from the insect and cactus series. In these paintings, Dean uses insects and the garden as symbols to comment on everyday life and human interaction. Stick insects and ladybirds struggle to climb up cacti as birds and bees perch, varied in scale and rendered in strong, vibrant colours. His bronzes often seem to have grown organically from his prints and paintings, taking on a three dimensional form, both tangible and textured. A concern for happiness is evident in Dean’s work; his wit and naive style are the hallmarks of an artist engaging with a wide audience whilst retaining sophisticated dialogues.
Dean Bowen has exhibited with much acclaim in Australia and overseas. He has also worked on a number of commissions including a major tapestry for the City of Melbourne’s Town Hall and recent sculpture for the Canterbury and Shepparton regions of Victoria. In 2008, the ACT Government purchased a major sculpture of Dean’s, “The big little man”, which is permanently installed in Petrie Plaza, Canberra City. More recently, a second bronze was commissioned, “Lady with flowers” which is situated in Gungahlin. Dean is a regular participant in national and international awards, winning the Sponsor’s Prize in the 4th Sapporo International Print Biennale in Japan in 1998, and, in 2003, the People’s Choice Award at the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award and the Tai-he Masterpiece Award at the 1st International Print Biennial of Beijing. He was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Dean’s works are in many significant collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris, France) and the Contemporary Art and Culture Centre (Osaka, Japan). In 2009, Macmillan Art published a major monograph on the artist’s work, “Argy Bargy”, by Sheridan Palmer.