Australia born 1957
Echidnas 2013

Dean Bowen grew up in the regional Victorian town of Maryborough. He studied printmaking at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology but attributes the recurrence of natural forms, animals and birds in particular as subjects in his work to his rural upbringing.

This also explains, in part, the artist’s embrace of the innocence and whimsey of ‘outsider art’, the terms for seemingly naïve imagery created by mostly self-taught artists working outside contemporary artistic conventions.

While the work of the Swiss-born modernist Alberto Giacometti is another influence on Bowen’s art, the animal imagery in works by Alberto’s brother, Diego Giacometti, can be glimpsed as a source in Bowen’s many works in various media that feature the Australian echidna or spiny anteater.

Like all Bowen’s animal motifs, the echidna subjects are imbued with anthropomorphic attributes and personalities. The echidna find particular favour with Bowen as its spines reference the artist’s own distinctively spiky hair.

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