With a career spanning nearly thirty years, Dean Home is a master of the still life. His virtuosic paintings in this traditional genre are symphonies in composition, each scene dramatically composed and theatrically lit. Antique Chinese vessels that he has carefully collected with swathes of fabric, fecund fruit, calligraphy brushes and vivacious magnolias are rendered with exquisite chiaroscuro and a highly refined palette. At once realistic, expressionistic and wildly theatrical, Home’s paintings represent an artistic journey from culture to canvas, carrying implied commentary on the constructs of value and taste.
‘Travels under the Red Cliffs’ continues the artist’s deepening engagement with Chinese art, poetry and philosophy. For Home, the Chinese conceptions of nature and aesthetics offer poetic paths of awareness that are not proscriptive, inviting invention and novel depiction. Recently, of particular resonance for the artist has been Su Shi’s poem Red Cliff Meditation, a masterpiece of Chinese poetry from the Song dynasty. A metaphysical meditation on time and space, this poem conjures a series of images contrasting the permanence of nature with transient humanity. Home’s new works align with this psychological aesthetic drama via cinematic close-ups where the diametric sensibilities of still life and landscape become entangled within artfully arranged objects. A dialogue of proximity between each highly symbolic item hatches multi-layered narratives that provoke a palpable meditation on beauty, mortality and truth. Stylistically fusing Chinese culture with Italianate and Baroque artistic tradition, the paintings forge a nexus between the east and the west, the spiritual and corporeal, tradition and contemporaneity.