John Dean


Electric fences, thorn bushes, torn trousers and angry swans.

Although these aforementioned features of island life are rarely showcased in Tasmanian tourism brochures, they nevertheless are as ubiquitous as the boutique wineries, historic homes and truffle farms which dot Van Diemen’s Land.

Anyone planning to spend time outdoors painting the creeks, rivers and estuaries of northern Tasmania will eventually be challenged by at least one, if not more, of these hazards.

From soggy paddocks of steaming cowpats, to unimaginably steep and slippery embankments which sprout tuft-like grab handles of painful stinging nettles.

Traps for young players include long lost strands of Georgian-era barbed wire concealed by river reeds – laying in wait for the vulnerable, milk-white calves of an unwary plein air painter to slash with unbridled glee.

It is now in the relative safety of this temperature controlled, and most importantly, wasp free environment, that visitors to this exhibition can freely dip their toes into a small selection of secluded Tasmanian waterways without the subsequent risk of requiring immediate medical attention.


John Dean was born in Brisbane but currently lives in Launceston, Tasmania. He graduated with his Bachelaor of Arts degree from Queensland College of Art in Brisbane in 1985.  He was a Sulman Prize Finalist at Art Gallery of NSW in 2011 and 2007, Finalist in Mosman Art Prize and Waverley Art Prize in 2008 and Finalist in North Sydney Art Prize 2008 and 2007.  John Dean was also a Finalist in Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2007 and a Finalist in the Blake Prize in 2006 as well as a Finalist in the inaugural Gallipoli Memorial Club Art Prize in 2006.