Meet Jeff and Ranja Dean, Emerging Artists
We’ve had members come and go at Ptarmigan Arts gallery. Some have come and never gone, some have only stayed a short time. We’ve recently juried in a new batch that we hope stay for a while. One family in that batch —Jeff and Ranja Dean and their daughter M’fawnwy–is quickly making a name for themselves all over Alaska, and they’re working on branching out to more galleries outside of Alaska.
Both Ranja and Jeff had work in the “Bears! Contemporary Images of the Ursidae” show this summer at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, she with a bronze sculpture, he with a life-sized wood carving of a polar bear. Ranja’s “Standing Polar Bear” bronze sculpture is pictured in an Alaska Dispatch News article here http://www.adn.com/culture/arts/2016/06/09/international-conference-art-show-and-parade-of-bears-coming-to-anchorage-this-month/
Currently, the Deans have an exhibit at the Pratt Museum in Homer titled “Heartfelt and Homemade: From Creative Homesteading To the Fine Arts.” The exhibit consists of the practical and whimsical things they’ve created on their acreage outside of town. The lead picture on the Pratt homepage shows bronze woodcarver, made by Jeff. Take a look and see if you can identify the rabbit house. http://www.prattmuseum.org Yes, folks, that’s where the Dean’s rabbits live. In ferro cement houses that would do any hobbit proud. One highlight of the show—and the show’s full of them—is the dollhouse Ranja carved from a hollow stump. She made every single thing in and on it, down to the curtains and teeny tiny shovels and brooms. I could have looked at it for hours. But nothing I say will do it justice. Go to the Pratt if you live anywhere near Homer and see it. It runs until October 1. Don’t. Miss. It. Yes, we’re biased, but you really never will see anything like it again.
As if that weren’t enough, Jeff recently was awarded a 1% For Art commission. The program reserves one percent of construction budgets for public art and is highly competitive. He was one of five artists selected to send proposals for the new Denali State Park Interpretive Center, and is in the process of designing the commission for “Through the Spotting Scope,” a 9-feet tall, 12.5-feet wide, layered, engraved steel panel for the outer wall of the central multipurpose room.
M’fanwy Dean, a chip off the old block, is currently living in Oregon and pursuing her passions there, but we’re happy she put her woodblock printed cards at Ptarmigan before she left. Each hand printed design is selectively burnished to give every image unique contrast within the limited editions of only 15 prints per woodblock. She burnishes the backs of the prints using small ball end, steel tools, varying the pressure and watching the intensity of the greys and blacks through the paper to get the effect she wants for each variation. Perfect for all-occasion cards or to even hang on the wall.
So there’s your introduction to the Deans. Come in the gallery and see their art, stop by the Pratt and see their exhibit, or take a jaunt up to Denali to see Jeff’s sculpture sometime in the future. No matter where you see their work, you won’t be disappointed, and it’s popping up at more places all the time. And we’re proud to have their permanent display in Ptarmigan Arts.
To see Jeff and Ranja’s online gallery, go here