Fundamental to Deanne’s work is a celebration of the human form. Like many artists from Gaugin, Paula Modersohn-Becker and Amrita Sher-Gil onwards she has chosen to simplify, pare down and concentrate on the beauty of the body and to share the daily activities of play, sleep, sex and food with us the viewer.
Scale is important to the artist as most of the paintings on exhibition are life-size or bigger. And in each work the model is staring out at us: a woman, a man, a child, but mostly women. In these mini dramas the child is absorbed in pulling away from his mother and the men are self-absorbed in stretching, reaching, moving away; the constant in these paintings is the woman staring out, confronting our gaze.
These large-scale works invite us into the drama of the everyday and into the intimacy of home where hats are plonked on heads, a nurse’s cape acts as a prop with prim lace up shoes. Elsewhere two women, best friends by the title, lean in towards each other discussing, what? It is difficult to place the role of the men in the paintings as they act out their roles as more plaything than part of the daily drama: a bold move on Deanne’s part as she has chosen to turn the tables on woman as object and place ‘Frog, Ape, Chicken’ man in a series of awkward poses.
This is life caught in the moment but, unlike a snapshot, these paintings are not to be glanced at and discarded but to be considered, admired, revealed to the eye and most importantly celebrated for the physicality of the paint and the pure joy of confronting our bodies and the dramas that we create.