He is essentially a painter of identity. But more than the identity of the body, it is the identity of the soul as evoked by these sumptuous watercolours.
For Graham Dean, the body is a ‘holding-pen of emotions’, a ‘thinking body’ similar to the research done by Wilhelm Reich. His characters are the receptacles of these emotions, ideas, and memories. They are witnesses of the human condition and our complex relationship with the world. Our individuality, our identity is formed by this interaction of our inner lives which is constantly penetrated and altered by the outside world. Graham’s painting is an investigation between the inside and the outside, the surface and what lies beneath. Arms, faces, torsos, legs become interchangeable – anonymous but recognisable, The body becomes a canvas, torn and stretched, a vehicle for the imagination of the artist. The works are open to interpretation, free, as are the movements of watercolour, colours and sensual shapes.
(quoted from Dean’s website: article by Galerie Maubert, Paris. September 2011)
Body and emotions
Technique; ‘reverse archaeology’
‘Pigments suspended in water’. Contrasting layers of paint are applied separately on thick, handmade paper from Southern India. Colour is important: use of red accentuates the dramatic effect of green and yellow and juxtaposition of complementary colours. He exploits the differential viscosity, granularity and opacity of different watercolour pigments and the ways in which thick layers /dripped paint interact with water at different degrees of wetness/drying cycle. Paint glazes (multiple, transparent layers) create intensity and depth. Each sheet undergoes a process of tearing and overlapping to create a final new composition.