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Agence VU - Tamara Dean
Tamara Dean

Tamara Dean is an Australian artist whose practice includes photography, installation and participatory works exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world and the role ritual plays in our lives.

In 2013 Dean was selected for the ArtOmi International Artists Residency, New York. Works produced during this residency won first prize in the 2013 New York Photo Awards - Fine Art series category. Dean also collaborated with Iranian artist Bahar Behbahani on Kneading Memories, a multi-discipline site specific performance and installation work.

Dean has received numerous awards including a high commendation - 2013 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, winner - 2011 Olive Cotton Award and winner - 2009 Sydney Life: Art & About.

Her works have toured Bulgaria in Dangerous Beauty, curated by Stephan Stoyanov; and have featured in the 2014 Hamptons Art Fair, NY, 2014 Melbourne Art Fair, Australia, 2013 Aspettando FotoLeggendo Festival, Italy; 2012 Fotofever Brussels Art Fair and 2012 Pingyao Photography Festival, China.

Solo shows include Here-and-Now, 2015, The Edge, 2014, Only Human, 2012, This too Shall Pass, 2010 , Ritualism and Divine Rites, 2009.

Dean’s work is held in a number of public and private collections including Francis J. Greenburger Collection, New York; The Mordant Family Collection, Australia; Artbank, Australia, the Balnaves Collection, Australia, and the Gold Coast City Art Gallery, QLD.

Dean's editorial work is represented by Agence Vu (2004-present) and she was a member of the Oculi photographic collective from 2001-2011. Dean is represented by Jayne H Baum Gallery NYC and Martin Browne Contemporary Gallery, Sydney.

  Travelling : Beijing, China




Instinctual (2017)

Instinctual explores the relationship between humans and the natural world and the role of instinct in our contemporary lives. The sense of upper-world and underworld within these works is representative of consciousness and the subconscious.The absence of clothing and natural setting is designed to symbolise a universal sense of humanity and our inherent animalism.An acknowledgment that we are indeed a part of nature. 

About Face – “are you a boy or a girl?” (2017)

« There is an arresting beauty in androgyny. Androgyny challenges our cultural conceptions of femininity and masculinity. The questions that often arise – “Are you a boy or a girl?” or “are you a man or a woman?” – suggest that gender stereotypes, learned behaviour and cultural prejudices can influence the way we perceive and in turn relate to people. I like to think that androgyny can be perceived as a universal face of humanity. »

The Edge (2014)

'The Edge' explores the informal rites of passage that young people create for themselves in nature. The initiations, the pushing of physical, spiritual and emotional limits in order to discover one's sense of self. Jumping into the abyss and confronting fears, seeking a spiritual, transitional experience.

Only Human (2013)

Set within the Australian landscape, Tamara Dean explores what it is to be human – our fragility and vulnerability, and our intrinsic connection to the natural world. Dean’s powerful photographs explore a mysterious realm where ritual, intimacy and femininity are portrayed and with an almost pagan sensibility, that draws on the elemental forces of nature for inspiration.

This too shall pass, Australia (2010)

Urban decay in the last of my city’s wastelands, the places I explore, the last wild vestiges where there is space to roam. These pictures come from the hem of life. From a city broken down. Subjects un-grown-up. I feel as though I am conjuring something in these photographs. Finding in them the air and light. Waiting for energetic points to come to a head. Weighing the evening. Holding for breath. Pausing for space. The subjects are not swamped by the landscape, they are emboldened by it, drawing their energy from the elements... the wind, the animals, the moon, the sensation of bare feet on earth. From the places where nature is clawing back. In this work I pay homage to the...

Divine Rites (2009)

"These are personal images: friends, sisters, myself. People I have watched become women. They are what I have seen in that change. They are new expressions, the confidence of gestures, the hesitation in revealing, feet arranged by nervousness. The nudity is inconsequential, the sensuality portrayed in such sentiments as the wisps of finger, hung in the air like cigarette smoke. Womanhood is a certainty of time, and yet it is racked by the unsure, by the desperation of impatience. These women turn in the shadows of adolescence, this period invested with untold meaning, a soap opera of darkness and tribulation. There is sexuality but not sex. The discovery is pent up in a zone of...

Ritualisms (2009)

Ritual is a protocol, a guide, for that most fundamental of human needs: meaning. But when protocol loses meaning, snubbed out by the distractions of life, it is merely repetition. Baptism becomes bath, marriage a party with rings. And so on the Western world ambles, away from what was once the light, out into the secular unknown. One wonders, in this state, if bath can become baptism - if, on meditation, the mundane can take up meaning and repetition become ritual. This is the margin I seek to explore: the contemporary quest for purpose, rite in the Australian landscape. My own Jewish upbringing was imbued with religious traditions. All steeped in ritual, stacked with...

Mekarnivale, Australia, by Sewell/Dean (2009)

These photographs were taken in a purpose built photographic booth as part of an artistic installation within 'Mekarnivale', Mekanarky's annual masquerade ball in 2005. Mekanarky (2002-2008) were Sydney's pre-eminant anarchist art collective. Numbering between 20 and 30 artists, they inhabited a large disused ice-cream factory in the suburb of Turrella, Sydney. This series of portraits are an extract from a collaborative seven hour portrait session by Dean Sewell and Tamara Dean during the course of the ball.

Motherhood, Australia (2008)

"The photographs in my ‘motherhood’ series depict the fairly mundane, sometimes wonderful and often unglamorous day-to-day events in the routine of mothers with their children. In portraying these moments I hope to demystify the ideal of the ‘perfect mother’ and to offer a window into the very real moments in people’s lives, to show that motherhood, whilst very rewarding is also very tiring and personally challenging." Tamara Dean


    2011 - ‘Olive Cotton Award’ for photographic portraiture for ‘Damien’

    2009 - First prize in 'Sydney Life: Art and About' for 'The Bride' (Ritualism series)

    2007 - Finalist in the ‘Moran Contemporary Photography Prize’

    2007 - Nominee in the ‘Australia’s Top Photographer’s Awards’ in the Photojournalism’ category - Capture Magazine

    2007 - Nominee in the ‘Australia’s Top Photographer’s Awards’ in the ‘Editorial’ category - Capture Magazine

    2006 - Finalist in the ‘Olive Cotton Award’ for photographic portraiture, Tweed River Art Gallery for 'Alex and James'

    2005 - Finalist in the 'Leica/CCP Documentary Photography Award'


The Edge (Sydney)
From 2014-03-05 to 2014-03-23

\"The Edge\" explores the informal rites of passage that young people create for themselves in nature. The initiations, the pushing of physical, spiritual and emotional limits in order to discover one\'s sense of self. Jumping into the abyss and confronting fears, seeking a spiritual, transitional experience. The Edge, Winner of the 2013 New York Photo Award in the category ‘Fine Art Series’ Highly commended in the 2013 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, the 2013 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize and the 2013 Olive Cotton Award Finalist in the 62nd Blake...

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The Edge (Brooklyn, NY)
From 2014-01-15 to 2014-02-24

Tamara Dean is one of the finalist of \'The New York Photo Awards 2013\', - Fine Art series category for the series The Edge. The work will be included in The New York Photo Awards Finalists Exhibition! The six works which have been selected are from her upcoming show \'The Edge\' at Olsen Irwin Gallery 5th-23rd March 2014 Vernissage: tuesday 01/21/2014

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