2 - 20 November 2006
about the exhibition
Dean Bowen has developed a symbolic visual language, in three separate mediums, to celebrate human habitation within the urban and the rural landscape. An iconography of child-like figures, buildings, cars, birds and trees is suggestive of “Art Brut” or “Raw Art” popularised by French artist Jean Dubuffet, but perhaps the true source of these visual narratives is Bowen’s own quirky humour. The landscape and everything in it is reduced to its basic shape, with commuters speeding along intersecting highways in cut-out cars and over-sized birds struggling to fit within the frame. The impact of this simple imagery is intensified by the authoritative application of dense, vibrant colours which simultaneously attract and challenge the viewer. To quote art historian Sasha Grishin: “Bowen sets out to create a very direct, simple and child-like image, in the most sophisticated manner possible.” Bowen allows the various mediums of painting, printmaking and sculpture to form a symbiotic relationship; ideas that inform one are reflected in another, resulting in a diverse but intricately connected oeuvre. This is Dean’s fourth exhibition with Beaver Galleries.
Dean originally studied printmaking and has exhibited to much acclaim both 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. Dean is a regular participant in national and international awards, winning the Daikin Industries Prize at the Osaka Print Triennale in 1997, a sponsor’s prize at the Sapporo International Print Biennale in Japan in 1998, and the people’s choice award at the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award, Melbourne in 2003. His works are represented in many significant collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Parliament House (Canberra), Print Council of Australia, Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris, France), URDLA Archives (Lyon, France) and the Contemporary Art and Culture Centre (Osaka, Japan).