Dean Bowen is 60. He originally studied Printmaking at RMIT in Melbourne, and after an early obsession with making prints, etchings and lithographs, he became fascinated with painting, and finally sculpture. After an early career in commercial printing, the artist took a leap of faith (way back in 1989!) to leave paid employment and work full-time as an artist in the studio. He hasn’t looked back!
Dean’s varied skill-set and career history still feeds into his practice today, as he effortlessly shifts between painting, printmaking and sculpture in his Cheltenham studio.
The artist’s latest offering is a collection of quirky bronze sculptures and assemblages crafted from foraged materials. Tin panels, nails, wire and even seed pods are transformed into anthropomorphised animals and totemic forms with a naive, almost child-like feel.
Titled ‘The Welcome Stranger’, this latest body of work is inspired by observations of everyday life, as well as childhood memories. ‘I love the handmade, the outsider, children’s art, naive art and primitive art of all kinds’ he explains. ‘I try to search for artworks that will echo something profoundly human, through an optimism and humour that is often missing in modern times’. Jean Dubuffet’s assemblage sculptures, Picasso and Miro’s junk inspired sculptures, and the Annandale Realists have each played a role in inspiring these creations.
Around 40 of these works will be exhibited at Arthouse gallery in Sydney this March. Beyond the Sydney show, Dean has a survey exhibition coming up in Melbourne mid-year, at Artspace, Whitehorse City Council Gallery, and hopes to exhibit his first solo exhibition in the US later in 2018.