Brandon Dean

Artist Statement



In my work, I strive to instigate an uneasy dialogue relating to figurative imagery. Western painting history for centuries canonized a particular perspective from which otherness was defined, and by extension how the world was categorized. My paintings work to question what is comfortable about the nature of these categorizations, all by lavishly wallowing in the aesthetics of western hegemony. 

The figures are exclusively white, and come either from life or appropriations the world of fashion advertising. Through various projects that revolve around a painting practice, I create work that turns the default fulcrum of art discourse (the white male) into a specimen for critique in its own right.  I am interested in their implicit roles as talisman of canonical drives, which always in some form employ notions of power and class. I find it interesting that the choice of figure as an artist of color is always  a politicized action, and that it has lasting effects on how the perception of the work changes before and after one acknowledges that it is made by a person of color. But it is that shift in meaning, in connotations, and in the fact that there is a shift at all, that is the central drive of this body of work.