Historical Journal

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Dean Dass: Unique Works on Paper

June 23, 1985
Judith Stein

A writer and curator, studied at Barnard College, and has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). Her curatorial projects include Red Grooms, A Retrospective, for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Figurative Fifties, New York School Figurative Expressionism, co-curated with Paul Schimmel. Her exhibition, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995, and earned a best catalogue award from AICA/USA. Her articles, interviews and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Art News, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Among her honors is a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a Pew Fellowship for literary non-fiction; and a Lannan Foundation writing residency in Marfa, Texas.

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"The eye is pulled in and seduced by these remote, fragile structures of consciousness."

May 3 through June 23, 1985
Isolation is a delicate and convoluted arena.
– Dean Dass
In several of Dean Dass’s recent works, an individual, seen from the rear, is encircled by a fragile structure. Is he imprisoned by exterior forces, or is he on his own recognizance, inside a cage of his own construction? Dass is not unmindful of John Donne’s exhortation to equate one’s own interests with those of the common good, but he knows that all too frequently people become “enisled,” a term he has used for one of his titles.
Dass begins by preparing his paper, sometimes effecting the patina of old parchment at other times achieving gentle, brooding blacks or smoky, mottled grays by dyeing, staining, and scumbling his surfaces with powdered pigments. The sheets may then be etched, with the printed impression comprising only ten percent of the finished work. Some of the images are accomplished by chine coIIe’, a combination of collage and printing, or by color transfer, a carbon like technique used by bookbinders. He further modifies the surface by affixing such various materials as mica, magazine illustrations, and wax slide envelopes. This layering and reworking creates images with a mysterious depth and a haunting beauty. The eye is pulled in and seduced by these remote, fragile structures of consciousness.

Judith Stein
Coordinator, Morris Gallery
With the exception of the works on loan from private collectors, , the work of Dean Dass is shown courtesy of the artist and the Dolan/Maxwell Gallery, Philadelphia.
1 . Unzeitgemass, 1983
Watercolor, dry pigments, collage, pencil
20 x 26″
Private Collection
2. Wicce, 1983
Intaglio, dry pigments, pencil, collage, chine coIIe’
21 x 17″
Private Collection
3. Psychotic Caution, 1983
Pencil, collage, dry pigments, chine coIIe’, gouache
21 x 17 1/2″
4. Fountain, 1983
Intaglio, chine colle’, monotype
21 x 17 1/2″
5. Death Zone, 1984
Intaglio, chine colle’, gouache, dry pigments, color transfer
13 1/2 x 12″
6. Enisled, 1984
Intaglio, chine colle’, dry pigments, gouache
11 x 9″
7. Beast In View, 1984
Intaglio, chine coIIe’, pencil, collage, gouache
21 x 17 1/2″
8. Little Fountain, 1984
Intaglio, chine colle’, pencil, collage, dry pigments,
monotype, gouache
21 x 17-1/2″
Private Collection
9. Opening Flower, 1984
Pencil, collage, dry pigments, gouache
28 x 20″ 10. Why Is He So Incomplete, 1984
Gouache, pencil, dry pigments, collage
16 x 24″
Private Collection
11. The Second Zone, 1985.
Intaglio, chine coIIe’, dry pigments, gouache, color transfer
15 x 13″
12. Within. Without. 1985
Intaglio, gouache
23-1/2 x 31″
13. Within. Without 1 1986,
Intaglio, gouache
23-1/2 x 31″
14. The Self Thrower, 1985
Gouache, dry pigments, collage, pencil, color transfer
23-1/2 x 31″
15. Eniwetok, 1985
Intaglio, gouache, color transfer
23-1/2 x 31″
16. Shaper, 1985
Intaglio. gouache, color transfer
23-1/2 x 31″
For a price list of works for sale, please inquire at the Academy Shop desk.
The artist will give an Informal gallery talk at noon on Friday, May 17, 1985.
Dean Allen Dass was born in Hampton, Iowa, in 1955. After graduating with a B.A. degree with High Honors from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, in 1978, he came to Philadelphia to attend the Tyler School of Art, where he received an M.F.A. in 1980. He has remained in the area since then, lecturing and teaching at area schools, Currently he is a part-time instructor in printmaking and drawing at Kutztown University and resides with his family in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Dass’s work has been exhibited widely: in solo exhibitions at Olson-Larsen Galleries, Des Moines, IA (1983); Unique Works on Paper, Associated American Artists, Philadelphia, PA (1983); Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA (1984); National Invitational, University of Hawaii, Hilo (1984); and in group shows, including the 3rd, 6th, and 7th Annual Print Exhibitions, Charlotte Printmaker’s Society, Charlotte; NC (1979,’82, and ’83); the 54th, 55th, 56th, and 59th Annual International Competition, The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA (1979, ’80, ’81, and ’83); Two Printmakers, The Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA (1980); Wesleyan international Print and Drawing Exhibition, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA (1980); National Print Exhibition (1980), Trenton State College, Trenton , NJ (1980); Intergrafia 80, Katowicz z, Poland (1980); 8th International Print Biennale, Cracow, Poland (1980); Knots and Fetishes, World Print Council, San Francisco, CA (1981); 18th Bradley National Print and Drawing Exhibition, Bradley University, Peoria a, I IL (1981); 22nd National Print Exhibition, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (1981); New Talent in Printmaking (1981), Associated American Artists Galleries, New York and Philadelphia (1982); The Renaissance Revisited Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA (1982); Cheltenham Art Center Print Biennial, Cheltenham, PA (1983); Impressions: Experimental Prints, Institute of Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA (1983); The Artist As Printmaker, 23rd National Print Exhibition, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (1983); Hunterdon National Print Exhibition, Hunterdon Art Center, Clinton, NJ (1984); Selections from the Philadelphia Print Club, San Diego Print Club, San Diego, CA (1984); American Printmakers Invitational, Kipp Gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Indiana, PA (1984); Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte, NC (1984); Selections from the Philadelphia Print Club, The American College, Bryn Maw, PA (1984); Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Exhibition; Philadelphia, PA (1984); Alumni Invitational at Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA (1984); American Artist As Printmaker, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (1984); Pennsylvania Artists and Paper, Dolan/Maxwell Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (1984).
The work of Dean Dass is included in university art collections across the country, especially in his native Midwest. It can also be found in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Collection of Poland; The Brooklyn Museum; Smith, Kline & French, Philadelphia, PA; Chi Printmaker’s Society, Charlotte, NC; Philadelphia Savings Fund Philadelphia, PA.
Dass has received several awards and fellowships including and Old Gold Award for Meritorious Scholarship in Printmaking, University of Northern Iowa (1978); the Purchase Award at the 3rd Annual Print Charlotte Printmaker’s Society, Charlotte, NC (1979); the Purchase Award 6th National University of Dallas Print lnvitational, Irving, TX (1979); the Purchase Award at Vermillion 80, University of South Dakota (1980); the Annual Award, Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA (1980); Fellowship, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA (1980); the Purchase Award, 7th Annual Print Exhibition, Charlotte NC (1983); and this year Dean Dass is the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship.

Selected Bibliography
Jarmusch, Ann. “Philadelphia: Dean Dass,” Art News (May 1983), pp. 136-7.
Russell, John. The New York Times (November 20,1983), sec. H, p. 29.
Print Collector’s Newsletter (January-February 1984), p. 260.
Vivien Raynor. The New York Times (September 2,1984).
Sozanski, Edward J. Philadelphia Inquirer (November 5,1984), sec. C, p. 4.
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling artist exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area art personnel and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Academy. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Cynthia Carlson, Jennie W. Dietrich, Ofelia Garcia, Dr. Helen Herrick, Harold Jacobs, Jay Richardson Massey, Charles Mather III, Cheryl McClenney, John Moore, Mark Rosenthal; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery coordinator,, Frank Goodyear, Jr., Linda Bantel, Betty Romanella; and Academy students Ed Lewis and Anna Yates.
Copyright Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1985.
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