7 – 24 February 2019
about the exhibition
“At night looking up at the stars, sprinkles of light here and there, I remember my country dog, running fast, jet black. The great adventures through the bush, discovering echidnas, ants, rabbits and birds. Lizards under a log. Angry magpies swooping country kids, maybe a peck on the head. Fat dog wanting to chase a ball. Even way back then, I remember, covered in freckles, thinking about all the characters. Red hair, curly, odd-shaped teeth, the lucky ones and others not so lucky. Pets nearby. Faces shaped, telling stories about the sort of person anyone might be.” – Dean Bowen. Dean Bowen’s works are characterised by vibrant colour, environmental symbolism and dynamic composition. Memories from his country childhood in Victoria as well as experiences of urban living, provide an endless source of inspiration for his imagery. Dean plays with aspects of scale reflecting on both the monumental as well as the miniature, often merging and juxtaposing the two. As a painter, printmaker and sculptor, Dean creates relationships between these mediums with, for example, his sculpture often an extension of his paintings and prints. A concern for optimism is evident in Dean’s work, his wit and naive style the hallmarks of an artist engaging with a wide audience whilst retaining sophisticated dialogues. As Dr Sheridan Palmer writes “…Bowen’s oeuvre is distinguished by a pervasive humour that emerges in a glimmering portrait, whether it is of a cat, bird or a human being, and we see in a smile a benign transcendence, or in a whimsical or coy gaze an enduring, timeless quality. This essential humanity is what gives Dean Bowen’s art such profound intensity and such direct joy. Hope and happiness, one aspirational the other real and physically quantifiable, is delivered simultaneously, and correlates the metaphysical with the material.”
Dean Bowen has exhibited with much acclaim in Australia and overseas. He has also worked on a number of large commissions, including a major tapestry for the City of Melbourne and recent sculpture for Pt. Leo EstateSculpture Park, Merricks and The City Of Wodonga in Victoria. In 2008, the ACT Government purchased a major sculpture of Dean’s, “The big little man”, which is permanently installed in Petrie Plaza, in the centre of Canberra and then a second bronze “Lady with flowers” which is situated away from the city in suburban Gungahlin. Dean’s works are in many significant collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris, France) and the Contemporary Art and Culture Centre (Osaka, Japan).