In the early 2000’s, Dean Home reset his subject. Pushed by the discovery of an interest in still life and the poetic opportunities of Chinese ceramics - Home led on to a more thorough interrogation of oriental aesthetics and concepts. This is an ongoing journey which the artist actively pursues to this day.
‘Dean Home: An Artist’s Journey’ emphasises the importance of reflecting back and accessing the whole identity of an artists’ career. Metro Gallery is proud to have represented Dean Home for over 10 years, during which we have showcased his work on five occasions to great success. We are happy to once again collaborate closely with him on the Melbourne launch of his recently published monograph book. The book, written by Ken McGregor and published by Thames & Hudson, provides an in-depth and expansive look into the progress on his career. We will be offering a special promotional price of the book at the opening on the 5th of July 2018.
Dean Home’s works are a sensual delight to behold. The artist is a master colourist who brings together an array of influences to create sumptuous Still Lives. Entering in the worlds that Home creates feels like stumbling into Coleridge’s Xanadu, his paintings burst with rich jades and crimsons, exotic objects and enigmatic narratives. Home’s artistic practice has always been deeply influenced by mythology. His earlier work invoked Charon, the ferryman who herded souls along the river Styx to the underworld. It is in these early paintings we can see the beginning of his experiments with light, dark and shadow and his fascination with the cycles of life and death. In 2001 Home’s attention turned to the Still Life genre. The artist says “I picked up some Chinese porcelain bowls at auction, including one from the Kangxi period” (1662-1772). These objects opened up a new direction and a new vernacular for Home’s work. They became the cornerstone of his now recognisable style. He has relentlessly perfected his technique combining his gift for colour with carefully considered composition. Home plays with theStill Life genre; even though figures are no longer the explicit focus of his work he incorporates them through the characters that decorate the fabric and bowls. Employing the motifs and symbols in an ever-evolving set of fables and parables.
Home’s iterative vocabulary includes playful children, blooming lotus leaves and vertiginous mountains. He creates tension in his painting by imbuing his objects with competing sentiments. The focus of the foreground is dedicated to the realm of the senses; the sensual and the erotic:overripe fruits bursting with seeds and dripping with juices. The fecund images remind us that ripeness comes before rot. Like Dutch masters before him, Home employs fruit and flowers as a momento mori, a subtle reminder that all things are subject to inevitability of death. The backgrounds balance the compositions, reserved figures and static objects reference the strictures of culture and civilisation. Home has an obsessive attention to detail. Curating the objects, perfecting the angle of light and photographing each scene up to 200times as if sketches for his large painterly works. However, this process does not exclude the opportunity for improvisation. Home says he’ll often come across a flower or fruit and add it in to the composition on a whim. He refers to the joy derived from ‘extemporising’, composing and performing with the elements until they come together transcending their daily functions and combining to create a kind of theatrical beauty. Home’s work owes a debt to the masters from Velázquez to Caravaggio echoing their penchant for chiaroscuro and drama.