"Preservation Through Neglect"
James Gray Gallery
February - March 2013
February 16th from 6-9pm
Bergamot Station Art Center
2525 Michigan Ave,
Santa Monica CA 90404
Tuesday-Saturday, 11am - 6pm
Sunday & Monday by Appointment
was born in the same hospital as W.C. Fields outside of Philadelphia PA.
From an early age he was drawn to art and music - and it was all down hill from there.
After the purgatory of high school, he moved to Boston where he attended The School of The Museum of Fine Arts. Once the impracticality of art school was revealed, he set out to actually do art. During this time he sold his first paintings, executed murals, designed posters & record cover art for bands of varying noteworthiness.
Dean's work uses images of people or objects without clear context to elicit familiar emotions (a pretty girl, a well-dressed man, a child, an astronaut, an embracing couple) but undermines the emotions that attend these icons with text. While the subject is often attractive and comforting – eliciting feelings of nostalgia and innocence – the sentiment that overlays the image is typically bitter, or melancholic, or cynical, or even bleak- but always with the tiniest amount of hopefulness. This juxtaposition often creates a unique conflict for the viewer.
Dean's clean, precise style often misleads some to think the pieces are silk screens, but they are in fact just executed with just the ol' fashion paintbrush & acrylic paint on canvas. Early in his career Dean used bright neon colors combined with text to create an enticing candy-wrapper effect that did bode well with the pseudo-50's and 60's aesthetic that he employed. In 2001 he abandoned that technique and moved to a monochromatic grey palette that is more akin to faded photographs or stills from forgotten movies. In this way his more recent work more clearly accentuates the notions of memory and regret: memory of things lost, memory of missed opportunities & memory of things never had. Someone called his new work at that time "Bubblegum Noir" which was not without validity.
Dean's paintings have appeared in numerous galleries & museums (The Santa Monica Museum of Art, The Zimmer Museum, The Tucson Museum Of Art, etc.) sharing wall space with dozens of prominent artists, including Marc Ryden, Diane Arbus, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, Robert Rauschenberg, Ralph Steadman and Andy Warhol.
In 2011 he sat on a 4 man lecture panel with Raymond Pettibon at the Tuscon Museum of art, which for him was seminal. As a youth, Pettibon (along with Warhol) was his first "art love" and also the first artist he knew that combined not only text & images but also visual art & music.
If you care about such things, he is in the collection of Steven Soderbergh, Brad Pitt, Gary Calamar, Lisa Kudrow, George Clooney, Douglas Nielsen, Harry Shearer, The Cartoon Network & many more.
He was also commissioned to execute 24 paintings for Los Angeles entertainment agency CAA (Creative Arts Agency) in 2005. He does not keep a list of galleries/museums/shows he has been in- but it is quite extensive.
Currently Dean lives & works in Los Angeles. He still has a great love for music and, with an old friend, runs a handmade, vinyl only record label with a very eclectic roster of artists. When he's not doing any of the above mentioned activities he enjoys collecting other people's art & watching scratchy black-and-white movies.