Dean + James are a London based artistic collaboration between Dean Fox and James Rawson, whose work combines contemporary techniques with fine art traditions and a minimalist approach. Dean + James refer to their artwork as 'elemental', breathing new life into dead matter. Integral to their practice is the use the oldest known medium in the world, raw charcoal; marks and traces of which signify their meditation with the past and fascination about what the future may bring.
The art of Dean + James exists within a frisson of duality by focusing on time and spirituality, light and dark, beauty and the abhorrent, objectivity and emptiness. The first collaboration made between the artists, Samsara, represents the cyclical nature of life and death.
The artistic duo split their skills equally to create a finished work of art, with Dean Fox painting the composition and figures within a scene while James Rawson produces fields of charcoal abstraction. Dean + James' finely rendered paintings take their form from devotional paintings and the grand narrative paintings of the past, drawing from a committed knowledge of the European tradition of art. Motifs and subjects within their work recall signifiers of classical mythology, which is then juxtaposed by a distinct sense of contemporary minimalism and field of charcoal abstraction.
With the appropriation of found imagery overlayed with sculptural matter, the artist's create scenes that are deliberately abstracted and distorted and made dense by the amorphous form of charcoal, a substance that leaves only a burnt and brittle trace of wood, bone, and organic matter. Such a material evokes the fragile nature of history, ideas that stoke the flames of culture, the tinder of memory and impermanence. At the heart of Dean + James' work is an engagement with the art of the past, present, and future. It forms a long artistic dialogue that creates an audacious response to our cultural history by questioning the reality in the image in the digital age.