From The Collection: Christine Dean

Take an in-depth look at Christine Dean's artwork in Ancher House, responding to artworks in the gallery's collection through juxtapositions and reinterpretation

From the Collection is a series of exhibitions, commissions and interventions presented in the spirit of Margo Lewers and her desire for her home and collection of artworks to be shared with the people of Penrith and surrounds. We invite artists, writers and people from the local community to engage with the Gallery’s collection, and in doing so, provide fresh perspectives and insight.

From the Collection Christine Dean installation view (2022)Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

Learning from Late Modernism, Christine Dean

"As a student of late modernism, I enthusiastically studied the elegant and diverse formal compositions of many twentieth century Australian artists. Frequently, their designs came as a response to developments taking place in Europe and later the United States."

After Margel and Frank Hinder (2003) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"These experiments grew out of everything ranging from a scholarly and studious reading of international art movements to misinterpretations and mistakes. Over the years I have been able to pass on these formal and aesthetic compositional skills to generations of students."

From The Collection Christine Dean, installation view (2022)Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"The paintings included in this exhibition are derived from some of my favourite artworks from the Penrith Regional Gallery Collection as well as modern Australian art in general."

David Aspden Fallen Tree 1974 (1999) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"The works by artists such as Margo Lewers, Margel and Frank Hinder, Lyndon Dadswell, Peter Upward, David Aspden and Vernon Treweeke have so much to offer when it comes to exploring colour, composition and technique."

"Although many of these works combine abstract motifs that are painted over text, one exception is After Margo Lewers, a painting that combines two of her works."

After Margo Lewers (2004) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"In this work the ground features a textured relief pattern made using a felt stencil that depicts the design of a mosaic from Margo Lewers’ kitchen floor which is overpainted with a brightly coloured abstract design for a ceramic bowl."

"While living in Ancher House during a residency I used to cook in the old kitchen becoming familiar with the mosaic as well as the permanent collection."

Three Wise Men, Paul Hopmeier, 1982, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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Construction, Lyndon Dadswell, 1975, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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After Paul Hopmeier and Lyndon Dadswell, Christine Dean, 2004, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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July 10th, Peter Upward, 1961, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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Herculaneum, Elwyn Lynn, 1961, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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After Peter Upward and Elwyn Lynn, Christine Dean, 2004, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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"Another example titled After Margel and Frank Hinder is a work that superimposes an image of Margel’s sculpture Six Day War over one of her husband Frank’s images, bringing this creative couple together again."

Construction, Frank Hinder, 1943, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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Six Day War I, Margel Hinder, 1967, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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After Margel and Frank Hinder, Christine Dean, 2003, From the collection of: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
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Roy de Maistre, A Painted Picture of the Universe (1999) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"Other works contain a layer of text concealed under a painted finish. The text includes information relating to the title of an art work, a newspaper review or a moment from art history."

"While the pattern superimposed over the relief lettering is usually an intuitive response to the message contained in the text. Clement Greenberg in Australia chronicles the celebrity art critics infamous trip to Australia in 1968 when he delivered lectures in Melbourne and Sydney in association with The Field exhibition. Covering the text is a jumbled and abstracted depiction of the Australian states mimicking the style of hard-edge abstraction that Greenberg championed."

Clement Greenberg in Australia (2003) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"In contrast Vernon Treweeke Looking through a kaleidoscope combines an appropriated image from one of the artist’s psychedelic paintings from late 1960s, a style then known as abstract eroticism which is superimposed over the title of a newspaper review from his 1970 Gallery A exhibition."

Vernon Treweeke looking through a kaleidoscope (2002) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"Drawing upon a more personal narrative, Janet Cumbrae Stewart, Portrait of Jessie Traill c.1920 tells the story of a same sex relationship between two women that is overpainted using a pastel camouflage pattern that simultaneously conceals and reveals the text as well as the narrative of their love."

Janet Cumbrae Stewart, Portrait of Jessie Traill c.1920 (1998) by Christine DeanPenrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest

"Aside from being a homage, my paintings take a critical position in relation to the limitations of these artist’s works. Each painting in this selection contains a double image, one superimposed upon another. This process of doubling acts as a form of quotation marks or misregistration foregrounding modernisms obsession with form over content."

Credits: Story

From the Collection: Christine Dean was curated by Toby Chapman and exhibited in Ancher House, Penrith Regional Gallery on 7 May – 14 August 2022

Thank you to Christine Dean
All artwork and text copyright courtesy of the artist

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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