Galleri Urbane is delighted to host Dallas newcomer Christopher Paul Dean for his first solo exhibition in the region. The work in Reconfigured belongs to an on-going series that began during Dean’s graduate studies at Savannah College of Art and Design and includes work made from 2017 to the cpresent. Through multiple two- and three-dimensional explorations, Dean’s exhibition invites viewers to reconsider their own past, current, and future interactions with the familiar.
At the core of Dean’s practice is an interest in the potential of the readymade. While Marcel Duchamp most notably implemented the readymade within an art context, Dean’s efforts fall closer in Reline with those of artists like Jasper Johns who made the readymade unique through artistic manipulation. While Johns drew from familiar icons of Americana, Dean has gravitated towards more universally utilized symbols associated with standardized accident prevention. Appropriating the visual lexicon of safety markers including caution stripes and barricade patterns, Dean aims to disrupt viewers’ preexisting modes of interaction and expectations of the symbols we encounter daily. Through his paintings and sculptures, the familiar is placed in a state of flux and in turn reveals potential in what could perhaps be considered mundane.
A selection of works included in Dean’s 2017 thesis exhibition for SCAD have been revisited inReconfigured, appropriately reimagined for the new context at Galleri Urbane. Recycled Rubber Parking Blocks: Composition no. 3 (2019), for example, is comprised of individual units that can be endlessly arranged to produce compositions of various degrees of complexity. The series is a perfect example of Dean’s ability to shift one’s reading of mass-manufactured objects, offering vastly different effect through simple rearrangement. Additionally, recent additions to the artist’s series are on display for the first time. Most notably, Dean’s OSHA/ANSI Integrated Barricade Warning: Embroidery series from this year broadens his execution of the barricade pattern through a brand new medium. In contrast to the earlier hard-edge, geometric iterations, the fiber-based medium used to construct these patterns offer a softer representation of the emblem. Hand-stitched in thread, this new series brings about entirely new readings of the familiar signifier in Dean’s oeuvre.
The deconstructive/reconstructive nature of the work in Reconfigured is not only achieved through a disruption of formal qualities, such as texture, color, material, and scale. It also agitates normative body-to-object interactions by undermining the intended function of each readymade. Through this, Dean brings one’s interactions with the familiar into focus and provides a platform for reevaluating beliefs and assumptions.