Paul Deans Exhibition

46B Weston Road
Christchurch 8005
New Zealand
Phone: 64 3-3559-559
Mobile: 64 025 228 4563
For my painting and sculpture I search for inspiration both from what I see about me and from the world of my imagination - however, once that revelation is uncovered I then feel obliged to follow it through to completion. With sculpture I may find that the piece of wood itself suggests an image, which I pursue until I’m satisfied that I have it secured. Alternatively I may see a vision in my mind and then have to rummage for the right piece of wood to make it work. Either way the images form in my nonverbal unconscious and I endeavour to breathe life into them to make each piece a ‘living work of art.’ Similarly with painting, I draw inspiration both from without and within - one as exciting a source as the other! When tapping my inner source I generally find that the ‘image’ arrives first and as I work my way through, then the significance or meaning behind it will become progressively more apparent. My catchphrase (which also came from within) is a challenge to all artists, whatever their medium: - The world is waiting to see your joy, not to have their pain reflected back at them.

Moonlight Sonata, wood

Debonair, wood

Debonair (back), wood
Eye of the Beholder, stone


In his book, The Soul of a Tree, George Nakashima writes, Trees have a yearning to live again, perhaps to provide the beauty, strength and utility to serve man, even to become an object of great artistic worth.
In my Woodsculpture I deliberately work to fulfil that very yearning. For each piece of wood, in order to let it live again and tell its story, I access my internal, unspoken subconscious and let it show me which image to extract.
This is a very personal, intuitive and satisfying process. I describe my sculpture as a gentle collaboration between the piece of wood, my self, my intuition and my friend the universe.

In the past Sculpture often re-presented a story from myth or history. If we take the idea that trees yearn to live again, then each piece of wood has a tale to tell. It just hasn't been put into words yet. The viewers are invited to find a personal story in each sculpture - my hope is that it will be about your own internal, unspoken, primordial peace and joy.
Paul Deans

Totara Recall, wood

Victory Dance, wood

Victory Dance, wood
The Arthouse 6-25 August 2002

Paul Deans considers his approach to sculpting in wood to be a collaborative process between himself, the materials and his intuition. In Narratives Deans has used the human form as a means of investing new energy and life in timber, and to create objects of great beauty.

Deans has used a variety of different types of wood in these eight sculptures, and consequently, each piece is unique in its style and character. The degree to which the natural qualities of the material have been utilized also varies greatly. In Moonlight Sonata I and Moonlight Sonata II, two portrait busts in macrocarpa and cherry respectively, the knots and grain have been exploited to express musculature and physical features. By contrast, in Debonair the form is so perfectly modelled by the pattern of grain that is appears as though the positioning and shape of the sculpture has been dictated by the natural features of the wood.

Deans’ sculptures also vary in the degree of naturalism in their execution.
In Icon the pale, silky finish and less prominent grain of linden lime are used to approximate human flesh. Deans has playfully left the bark of the wood to create a cloak draped around the figure’s shoulders. In Totara Recall the past-life of the timber exists in perfect synthesis with its renewed existence as a finely rendered male torso of classical proportions. Once a tar-covered beam from an aqueduct, the front has been left as it was found, complete with rusty nails, while the back has been carved and finished to perfection.

Victory Dance of the Peacemaker is the most abstract of the works in this show, but clearly embodies the artist’s intention to unleash the potential within each piece of wood to tell its own tale. A stylised figure dances across the plinth with arms flung aloft. Its solid, blocky form is offset by sharp angles, which exaggerates the movement and energy of the figure. This effect of capturing the dynamism of the human body in motion is reminiscent of the Italian Futurist sculptor, Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913).
However, while Boccioni derived his inspiration from the power of new technologies and the might of Europe literally striding into the future, Deans’ figure evokes celebration and joy. Inspired by the events surrounding September 11th, the energy encapsulated in Victory Dance of the Peacemaker conjures up an essential statement of humanity and a call for peace and goodwill.

Christine Whybrew, August 2002