3 - 22 September 2009
about the exhibition
Dean Bowen’s works pulsate with stippled surfaces, vibrant colour, environmental symbolism and dynamic composition. He is renowned for his deliberate child-like renderings of objects, people and animals that all share the artist’s quirky and infectious sense of humour.In this, his fifth exhibition at Beaver Galleries, Dean continues to bring to life images of urban and rural scenes where his comical protagonists possess complex personalities and emotions despite their simplified rendition. Animals and birds are given human characteristics, perhaps in an attempt by the artist to draw out similarities in the way we relate to our habitats and environments. Indeed, the contrast between the seemingly calm, natural environment of the birds and animals and the frantic, congested urban landscape of mankind, speaks of an environmental symbolism calling for a greater appreciation of the beauty and simplicity of natural life. Brightly coloured surfaces and playful distortions of perspective and proportion are key traits found across Dean Bowen’s prints, paintings and bronzes. A concern for happiness is evident in Dean’s work, and wit and a naive style are the hallmarks of an artist who is looking to engage with a wide audience whilst retaining sophisticated dialogues.
Dean Bowen originally studied printmaking and has exhibited to much acclaim in Australia and overseas. He has worked on a number of commissions, including a major tapestry in 1995, woven by the Victorian Tapestry workshop, for the City of Melbourne’s Town Hall as well as recent sculpture for the Canterbury and Shepparton regions. In 2008, the ACT Government purchased a major sculpture of Dean’s, “The big little man”, which is permanently installed in Canberra city’s central pedestrian precinct. 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 both the people’s choice award at the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award, Melbourne and the Tai-he masterpiece award at the 1st International Print Biennial of Beijing in 2003. More recently, he was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. His works are represented in many significant collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Parliament House, BibliothequeNationale (Paris, France), URDLA Archives (Lyon, France) and the Contemporary Art and Culture Centre (Osaka, Japan).