Brandon Dean

Artist Statement



In my work, I strive to instigate an uneasy dialogue relating to the sociopolitical undercurrents in figurative imagery. Western painting history for centuries canonized a particular perspective from which otherness was defined, and by extension how the world of art 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. 

In the paintings, the figures are almost exclusively white and male, and come either from life or appropriations the world of 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 arbiters of the canonical drive, which always in some form employ notions of power and class. I find it interesting that one's choice in human subject as an artist of color is inescapably a politicized action, and that it has lasting effects on how a work of art is perceived once the artist's biography comes into play. 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.