Dean’s practice addresses conflicting ideologies surrounding representations of the divine. Seeking to establish connections between the ways in which societies have depicted religious belief over time, she combines the features of divergent practices from East to West to create work with a contemporary spiritualism.
Dean is fascinated with the grotesque, and beauty and repulsion intermingle in her canvases. The figures become decontextualized, ambiguous, anonymous forms that hover in space. The body stripped of its individual identity becomes a vehicle for exploring shared fears and experiences. The common site where different perspectives, viewpoints and histories collide. Dean creates an open discourse in deciphering the objects on the canvas, probing our contemporary beliefs and what the body means and represents to her viewer and retelling ecclesiastic narratives to encompass female and Eastern perspectives.
Having taken religious painting of the past as her starting point, Dean has spent time deeply researching how its transformative effects are achieved. Her research has led her to employ centuries old techniques of layers and glazing to achieve the desired luminosity and lifelikeness with her oils.