The arts and crafts movement that flourished around the turn of the the 20th century was known for its celebration of the craftsman/artist. Its influence can still be found today.
Glenn Dean has chosen frames that recall arts and crafts design for his show of small works at Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Culver City, California. He admires their “simplicity and the honesty of their construction. When I approach the landscape, I try to simplify what I’m seeing. It’s a similar aesthetic.”
Dean paints in his studio from studies he has painted in the field. Although he has photographs for reference, he finds his studies are more accurate in terms of color and light.
“I’m attracted to different things in the landscape,” he says. “Sometimes it can seem chaotic and disorganized. I try to reduce the noise and look for nice color harmonies and positive and negative shapes playing off each other.”
Dean paints landscapes of the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lived for four years, to the coast of his native California. “I enjoy painting everything in the West from the desert to the mountains to the coast. There’s so much variety in those subjects.”
Tranquil Tide is a subtle coastal scene with soft light. “I try to pick different things in the landscape that provide new ideas and new challenges. The moods that occur along the coast with the moisture in the air and the interesting lighting effects are very poetic. The light in the desert is brighter and harsher, but it’s poetic too.”
Dean looks for the spiritual nature of a scene as well. When the artist captures the essence of a landscape, the painting can communicate at more than a visual level with the viewer. “The artists I’ve studied,” he explains, “have helped me see the landscape differently. I hope my paintings cause the viewer to pause the next time they’re in the landscape and see more of what is there.