Renowned British artist Graham Dean’s new book ‘Strange Beauty,’ featuring many of his celebrated works along with unreleased paintings, is being released as a Deluxe Edition Box Set with Book & DVD and includes the previously unreleased soundtrack to the film ‘Undercurrents’ by Peter Gabriel.
Graham Dean is essentially a painter of identity. But more than the identity of the body, it is the identity of the soul as evoked by these sumptuous watercolours. Like Egon Schiele who was researching in mental hospitals to study his subjects, Graham Dean loves these oddball characters who voluntarily use their bodies often in extreme situations. His images are recomposed in a creative alchemy, mixing people, body parts and time itself. Although the works are representational, they escape the illustrational to reach a universal form from something deeply personal. He has also used buildings, mysterious ships, confessionals in churches, forests, trains, to enhance these atmospheric moods.
“I have been painting and exhibiting since 1973 so naturally I had a large body of works to choose from when making a selection for this book. I was keen to include some of which have never been published before alongside the latest paintings, several fresh out of the studio. All the paintings are watercolour or watercolour with a few added elements like dye or stained glass paint though I’m now reluctant to use anything else but watercolour. The papers are either Arches or an Indian rag paper from Southern India. The rags which make up the Indian papers when pulped are recycled garments – mostly western t-shirts I’ve been told.”
Dean was also a pioneer in early video technology. He shot his second film to be funded by the Arts Council ‘Undercurrents’ on 16mm film, featuring a series of images and live action footage which were then manipulated. The film was first exhibited in 1981 and is soundtracked by a 14 minute instrumental piece, written and recorded by Peter.
The ‘Undercurrents’ music has been newly mixed for its inclusion here and is part of each of the available formats on DVD. There is a deluxe edition box set (limited to 50, additionally featuring the music on a replica of the cassette used for the original exhibition), a hardback signed version and a soft back version.