Where the Lotus Blooms
By: Susan Moir Mackay, Honors B.A.

"Intrinsic to Dean’s art is her spiritual view of the world. Starting from a personal question of “Why do I paint?”, this collection of art was created, becoming a testament to the ambiguities of life – revealing quiet truths of duality and unity. Painted in her distinctive style, the work is powerful yet tender. There is a vulnerable quality to her work that reflects Dean’s intuitive understanding and sympathetic handling of the human condition. By delving into her own emotions, Dean presents a body of work that immediately resonates. She offers us truths of her experience, in bold, raw, and simplistic images, along with aesthetically pleasing pattern style pieces, for example, The Seeker and Where Lotus Blooms, both of which use bright colors and decorative styling that cleverly belie the deeper message of her work.

Where the Darkness Meets the Light

L’Aube (Dawn) and Where The Darkness Meets The Light are more direct and emotionally raw in comparison. Both are depictions of a woman’s moment in life. In their poetic and somber colors, they in no way prettify the experience of life, yet, in their simple composition and palette, they eloquently express the beauty of the dualities of life. Not sad, more melancholic, there is a deep wrenching beauty to these paintings that, ironically, in their dark resonating colors, speak of hope in a meaningful, heartfelt way.Sunergy and the series of Sunwheels offer a bright contrast, filled with light and energetic ribbons of life, the images appear to spin off the canvas.


Duality and finding structures/patterns in life are prevalent themes in this show. By using numerous different canvases to create some of the pieces, Dean alludes to the piecing together of life that we all struggle with. Contrasting that puzzlement, is the constant reassurance of the cycles of nature: the tides of the sun and moon, the rise, the pinnacle, and the setting of their journey through the sky. We are reminded of this constant rhythm of nature as expressed in Gestation (which alludes to the cycles of the womb), Luna and Sol (where the cycle of day and night greet us like benign entities), and Renewal (in which the seasons and life of a tree are depicted along the cycle of the day. Although the work was constructed through process not theme, Dean’s probing into the nature of life creates a strong message within the body of work – a grouping of antithesis- the circle and a square, human and spirit, life and death, hope and despair, all held within a binding pictorial expression of the circle of life."

Claudette Dean