Dean Bowen: Bird Watching

18 - 24 August 2021
Exhibition Text

With a practice spanning over thirty-five years and encompassing painting, sculpture and printmaking, Melbourne-based artist Dean Bowen has developed a distinctive symbolic language. Renowned for his charming, whimsical renditions of kindly animals, quirky characters and Australian environments, the artist evinces the simple pleasures of human habitation within the modern world.


My work addresses our relationship with the natural environment, everyday life, and plays with aspects of scale reflecting on both the monumental as well as the miniature. The bird became a part of my subject matter many years ago when I began to notice the hip hop sound of birds running across my studio roof. Their sound seemed enormous, interrupting my concentration at first and then evolving into the imagined subject matter of giant birds on tiny houses that appeared in my work at that time. This soon developed into all kinds of bird imagery in my prints, painting and sculpture as the birds anthropomorphised into portraits of humans in avian disguise, bird landscapes, bird mountains, bird walls and so on.

Bowen holds a PhD and an MA from Monash University, as well as a Diploma of Fine Art (Printmaking) from RMIT. The artist has exhibited his works in countless exhibitions around the country and overseas, including Paris, London, Japan, Germany, Poland, Egypt, Switzerland, Spain, China and Slovenia. The artist has received a number of significant sculpture commissions including Point Leo Estate 2017, Deakin University Burwood Campus 2014, Hamilton Gallery 2014 and the arts/ACT Government Gungalin Commission 2011. Bowen’s works are held in many major State and National collections, such as Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia, as well as significant public and university collections including the Australian War Memorial, Heidi Museum of Modern Art, Artbank, University of Sydney, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Melbourne, National Library of Australia, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery and Point Leo Estate.