11 - 28 February 2021
about the exhibition
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. 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. ‘Journey’ is an exhibition that presents a diverse array of his works on paper including drawing, prints and a selection of his monoprints which have largely never been exhibited before. These unique monoprints are created by painting directly on to a copper plate which is then transferred to paper through a printing press. These works come together to capture Dean’s ongoing engagement with, and his particular vision of, the world around him. Dean writes “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.” 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.”
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 Estate Sculpture 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).