Tom Dean

Tom Dean’s work eludes categories. He has made paintings, videos and multiples, but is best known for his sculpture. His art plays upon the tensions between ordinary and mythical, with works varying in scale from miniature to monumental, their subject matter ranging from familiar, everyday objects to classical icons. His epic subjects allude to the dream world of the psyche and matters of the soul, but always reside in the intensely material world of desire and the body.

Dean was recognized in 1999 with the honour of being chosen as the Canadian representative at the 1999 Venice Biennale. A catalogue accompanied Dean’s Venice Biennale exhibition.

Tom Dean was born in Markdale, Ontario (1947) and settled in Montréal in the late 1960s, where he studied visual art at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) and became a well-known figure in the city’s alternative scene. He was a founding member of Véhicule Art Inc (and Véhicule Press), a renowned centre of avant-garde activity at the time. From 1972 to 1974 Dean published Beaux Arts magazine with fellow artist Stephen Lack. Over the next decade he produced works in several media, including texts, video, sculpture and prints, and gained a reputation for his elaborate multidisciplinary performances.

In 1976 Tom Dean moved to Toronto and shortly thereafter began his monumental sculpture project, The Floating Staircase (1978-81), whose remains were resurrected in an installation at Mercer Union, Toronto (1983). The various sections of Dean's extended serial sculpture Excerpts from a Description of the Universe (1984-88) were widely exhibited through the latter half of the 1980s, including in Aurora Borealis at the Centre international d'art contemporain, Montrél (1985) and in a solo exhibition at the 49th Parallel Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, New York (1985). In 1988 his work was included in the group exhibition All That Matters, which travelled across the country. From 1986 to 1989 Dean lived in New York, participating in exhibitions there as well as in Canada, including in 1990 an exhibition of his drawings and sculptures at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, Queen's University, Kingston (with catalogue).

Throughout the 1990s his artworks have been presented in several important group and solo exhibitions in Canada and Europe. A selection of his works from the early 1980s to the present were exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (Tom Dean: Selected Works Past and Present, 1999).

He has been collected by such major institutions as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Musée des beaux arts de Montréal.

Solo Exhibitions
2017
2013
  • Mercy, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
2007
  • Tom Dean: Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto
2003
  • Tom Dean: Aspiration and Entropy, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Toronto
2002
  • Ruins of the Floating Staircase, University of Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Tom Dean: The Ten Commandments, Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art, Calgary
2001
  • Desire, Toronto Sculpture Garden, Toronto
  • Retrospective, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto
  • The Whole Catastrophe, Niagara Artists’ Company, St. Catharines
  • Tom Dean: Culture’s Fool, Rodman Hall Arts Centre, St. Catharines
2000
  • Tom Dean, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto
  • Wonderbalcony, The Balcony, Toronto
1999
  • The Whole Catastrophe, XLVIII Biennale di Venezia, Venice
  • Tom Dean: Selected Works Past and Present, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
1997
  • Excerpts…etc,, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • Excerpts…etc,, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • Feeling Good About Myself, (with Matthias Herrmann), Art Metropole, Toronto
1995
  • Sculpture, Galerie René Blouin, Montreal
1994
  • New Scultpture, Leonard & Bina Art Gallery, Montreal
1993
  • Tom Dean/Richard Banks, Galerie René Blouin, Montreal
  • New Scultpture, (touring) UBC Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; The Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; The Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary
  • Cheap Prints, Galerie Graff, Montrea
1992
  • New Work, Galerie René Blouin, Montreal
  • New Work, Cold City Gallery, Toronto
  • New Sculpture, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto
1991
  • Cheap Prints, Open Studio, Toronto
  • New Work, Galerie René Blouin, Montreal
1990
  • Hell and Money, Cold City Gallery, Toronto
  • Sculpture, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston
1989
  • Excerpts…3, Oakville Gallery, Oakville
  • Sculpture, Cold City Gallery, Toronto
1988
  • Excerpts from a Description of the Universe 3, Galerie René Blouin, Montreal
1987
  • Sculpture, Cold City Gallery, Toronto
  • Excerpts from a Description of the Universe 1, 2, 3, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff
1986
  • Excerpts from a Description of the Universe 2, Galerie René Blouin, Montreal
  • Excerpts from a Description of the Universe 2, Artculture Resource Center, Toronto
1985
  • Excerpts from a Description of the Universe, 49th Parallel, New York
1984
  • Kingdom of Passage, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Trent University, Peterborough
1983
  • Ruins of the Floating Staircase, Mercer Union, Toronto
1982
  • Affected Thunder, A Space Gallery, Toronto
1981
  • Paintings, Gallery Quan, Toronto
1980
  • The Floating Staircase, Kingston Artists’ Association Inc
1976
  • Z, Véhicule Art Inc., Montreal
1972
  • New Work, (with Robin Collyer), Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
  • Installations, Véhicule Art Inc., Montreal
Group Exhibitions
2013
2012
  • Editions, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
2010
  • Traffic: Conceptual Art In Canada 1965-1980, Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto
2004
  • OPEN SPACES, 3rd Vancouver International Sculpture Project, Vancouver British Columbia
2003
  • The Flux of Fluid, Edward Day Gallery, TO
  • The Kiwi Sculpture Garden Project, Kiwi Gardens, Perth, Ontario
2002
  • The Kiwi Sculpture Garden Project, Kiwi Gardens, Perth,Ontario
  • XXX Testimonial, Mercer Union, Toronto
  • Animal de Compagnie, Galerie Art Mur, Montreal
2000
  • The Very Thing, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax
  • Fashion Queen, Spin Gallery, Toronto
1999
  • Oh Baby, Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge
1998
  • The Drug Show, Toronto
  • Karaoke, Toronto
  • Cross Eyed, Toronto
1997
  • The Sex Show, Toronto
1996
  • Cold City Tenth Anniversary, Cold City Gallery, Toronto
1995
  • Heavy Mental, The Power Plant, Toronto
  • Nether Mind, Toronto
  • Milieu: of the order of presentation, S.L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto
  • Boyer/Dean/Gomes, Cold City Gallery
  • On the Surface of Things, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
1994
  • Corpus Part II, Oakville Gallery, Oakville
  • The Cabinet Project, The Power Plant, Toronto
  • De Causus et Tractatibus, AxeNéo-7, Hull
  • Imprimatur, Galerie de L’UQAM, Montreal
1993
  • Corpus Part II, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff
  • Nether Mind, Toronto
  • Representing Media, Genereux Grunwald Gallery, Toronto
  • Canada Une Nouvelle Génération, Musée des Beaux Arts/FRAC Franche-Comté, France
1992
  • Nether Mind, Toronto
  • Identity, Main/Access, Winnipeg
1991
  • Anni Novanta, Galleria Communale D’Arte Moderna, Bologna
  • Union Language, Mercer Union, Toronto
  • Nether Mind, Toronto
1990
  • The Wedding, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto
  • Artists’ Books, Art Gallery of Hamilton
1989
  • Body is a Loaded Word, Evelyn Amis Gallery, Toronto
  • Sculpture, Laurie Rubin Gallery, New York
  • Microsculpture, University of Rhode Island, Fine Arts Centre
  • Prisoners of Art, The Police Building, New York
  • Scrutiny, YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto
  • The Anti-Graceful, S.L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto
  • City Artists, Or Gallery, Vancouver
1988
  • All That Matters, (touring) Windsor Art Gallery, Windsor; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal
  • David and Goliath, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
  • Invitational, John Weber Gallery, New York
  • From Sea to Shining Sea, The Power Plant, Toronto
1985
  • Aurora Borealis, Centre Internationale d’Art Contemporain
1983
  • Chromaliving, The Colonnade, Toronto
1981
  • not waving, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
1979
  • Nine Toronto Artists, Hallwalls, Buffalo
1976
  • Young Contemporaries ’76, London Art Gallery, London
  • 17 Canadian Artists: A Protean View, Vancouver Art Gallery
1975
  • Chairs, Art Gallery of Ontario
1974
  • Périphéries, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal
  • Camerart, Galerie Optica, Montreal
  • 9 out of 10, Art Gallery of Hamilton
1972
  • Montréal: Plus ou Moins, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Création Québec, Montreal, Amsterdam, Brussels
1971
  • 45ï‚°30’N - 73ï‚°36’W, Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal
  • 71st Annual Exhibition of Canadian Art, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Charlottetown Centennial Art Centre, PEI
  • Pluriel ’71, Musée de Québec, Quebec
  • New Quebec Sculpture, Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal
1970
  • Survey/Sondage ’70: Réalism(e)s, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Concours Artistiques du Québec, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal; Musée de Québec
COMMISSIONS
2009
  • Fire & Sausage, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto
2008
  • Peaceable Kingdom, King Edward Village, Vancouver
2003
  • Desire, National Ballet School of Canada, Toronto
COLLECTIONS
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal
  • The National Gallery of Canada
  • The National Ballet School
  • Salah Bachir Collection
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Lethbridge University
  • The Canada Council Art Bank
  • AWARDS
    Toronto Arts Award for Visual Arts, 1996
  • Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts, 2001
  • EDUCATION
    Bachelor of Fine Arts, Sir George Williams University, 1970