Show Preview | Glenn Dean

Culver City, CA
Maxwell Alexander Gallery, May 9-30

Glenn Dean, Twilight Moon, oil, 30 x 30.

Glenn Dean, Twilight Moon, oil, 30 x 30.

This story was featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Glenn Dean has proven himself to be a deliberate and adept painter of the American Southwest. Infused with his own brand of “simplified realism,” as he calls it, Dean’s canvases impart the inherent beauty he finds in his surroundings. He has always been interested in painting riders on horseback, and while these figures have appeared in his work from time to time as compositional elements, only recently has he made them the primary focus. Dean’s newest body of work, on display at Maxwell Alexander Gallery this month, gives viewers a more intimate look at these riders, as both integral facets of the environment and as storied protagonists.

Glenn Dean: The American West opens on Saturday, May 9, and continues through May 30. The gallery hosts an opening reception on Saturday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The show includes a dozen new oil paintings, ranging in size from 12 to 40 inches across, and featuring riders and scenery from Dean’s native California and across the Southwest. Gallery owner Beau Alexander says, “Figurative works from renowned landscape painter Glenn Dean have been in development over the last several years. Dean has been studying and perfecting his figurative painting skills, waiting for the right time to share them with the public. It has only been about two years since he has started to feature figures in his western paintings more prominently. This new direction hasn’t strayed from his greatest attributes: composition, color, sophisticated simplification, and strong emotion in his work.”

Dean gathers material for his compositions in the field, observing, photographing, taking notes, and sketching. The resulting compositions feature shapes defined by color and wrapped in a delicate interplay of light and shadow. Figures and their settings display a slight abstraction while also retaining fundamental detail—evidence of the artist’s purposeful brushwork. He explains, “I try to paint my subjects in an honest and truthful way, while paying attention to artistic choices that might best reveal the more essential information of the subject.”

Glenn Dean, Afternoon Sun, oil, 16 x 20.

Glenn Dean, Afternoon Sun, oil, 16 x 20.

As he paints, Dean also channels history, finding inspiration in the rich aesthetics of late 19th- and early 20th-century western landscape painters. Like his predecessors, Dean has a great respect for nature and strives to mine both visual and spiritual elements within the landscape. “I want my work to speak of the things that I have found to be beautiful and powerful,” he says. “This can be in something simple, like a sagebrush, or something grand, like a towering desert monolith. Whatever the thing may be, I feel that it has a voice, its own separate breath of life, its own place in the world that fits just right … which, to me, speaks of the divine.”

Excited to show Dean’s figure-based collection for the first time, Alexander remarks, “Longtime collectors as well as new fans are on a waiting list to get a glimpse at this new body of work that Dean has been finely crafting in his California studio. It is always such an exciting time to unpack his new paintings and get the first look at his genius work.” —Elizabeth L. Delaney

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Featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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