In painting there’s no where to hide. With every single mark painters reveal themselves. The canvas knows what you’re thinking consciously or subconsciously and gives you away.
When I first saw Dean Brown’s work I was struck by its deceptive scale. It was a medium size painting of a figure seen from above, long black shadow beneath his feet.The image had an epic quality, it jumped off the wall.
Since then, I’ve made a point of noticing his work.
In remarkable paintings there exists a difference between the subject matter and content. If you scratch the surface of any good painting you’ll find autobiography bubbling beneath.
This is true of Dean’s work. His subject matter may be a still life of a Martini glass with an orange or lemon, but in the content, you feel something else is happening. A personal drama is being played out,
one that can only be expressed in paint. Look beyond the skillful drawing and pensive compositions, and you’ll find that this is what Dean Brown is really grappling with.
His paintings are the product of a mind speaking to itself, and revealing itself in images packed with feeling.
Another great painter of still lives, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, said it best:
“One may use colours, but one paints with emotions.”
When looking at Dean Brown’s work, we are reminded that big emotions don’t only come from big paintings.
Robert Malherbe, 2020