Ladder, 2018, dichroic glass and aluminum

Stephen Dean's work communicates with the public in a unique way, through interpersonal relationships and the context of the place. In Rehearsal with Props, on display at Casa Triângulo, the French-American artist works with dichroic glasses that have the property of displaying more than one color under certain lighting conditions. “The conception of this show starts from the permanent connection of color in my work, which is close to music”. The particularity of his work is announced in this game of transparency, saturation and the displacement of bodies. It is not a static gaze, there are shifts in space and time.

The visitor's immediate identification with Dean's work takes place with the sculpture ladder. It is a staircase without a fixed base, with dichroic glass panels, a material that is both reflective and translucent and one of the key points of his speech. By enhancing the interiority of the glass, he creates a kind of transparent membrane where the world is projected and condensed in color, like a divider between the surface of the glass and the simulated depth of the “mirror”. At the opening of the show, almost no one resisted photographing themselves in front of this enigmatic sculpture that seduces the visitor by reflecting on it, creating a new work at each click, with reflexivity and intersections of gazes. Seen up close, you can see the density and saturation of the material, the color, the attempt to recontextualize common forms.

Dean is a multimedia artist who expresses himself both in sculpture and in installations and works on paper and video, in which color enters the process as a connector, an agent to change spatial, formal relationships. “I try to stay in the middle of a triangle, in which one angle reaches the documentary and the others reach painting and video art”. With these elements, he problematizes the “canvas as support-transparency”.

in opposition to Ladder, the series Atlas, looks more like a cabinet work, a collection of small watercolors, which he calls “sketches of spontaneous works” and which have the ability to expand the limits of color, mixing paintings on transparent cigarette paper. “It is a very resistant material, which supports light and is used by NASA”. With this type of paper you can roll a joint and, with humor, Dean calls it "dichroic marijuana". The small drawings are like preparatory sketches, very spontaneous, almost as if in gesture, motivated by landscapes, abstract elements, simple things that form an endless kaleidoscope. The painting with a saturated surface is populated by “flattened” images, grouped in sets of five pieces arranged on a display table. These small rectangles can be articulated in various ways, with different layouts and translate unique, ethereal moments.

Window [Window], 2019. dichroic glass and rubber

Dean promotes the reinvention of preexisting forms or events in various materials, having glass as a pendulous element in his speeches, since his beginnings in art. This flexible material molds itself to oversized spaces, such as facades, shop windows or windows, as he has now done in a renowned store in a mall in São Paulo. Dean prioritizes the intrinsic qualities of the material and  fluid changes to arrive at the temporal transience of the observed world. Color is the most important element in his work, even before language to understand ideas. His work speaks of the disruption of the univocal gaze and calls on other retinas to translate everyday systems and new sensory associations. These commitments to color and perception, the recontextualization of usual forms, become a way of encouraging new and challenging ways of seeing objects by addressing other challenges.

The artist, of a French mother and American father, has works in museum collections both in the United States and in France. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Whitney Museum of Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; at the Fonds National D'Art Contemporain, Paris, France; at Fundación Jumex, Mexico.

This is Dean's third exhibition in Brazil, where he leaves open a productive field, with an address to exhibit and a constant following.

Stephen Dean: Rehearsal with props
Until March 16st
Triangle House:
R. United States, 1324 – Jardins, São Paulo – SP

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