Biography

Tamara Dean is a critically acclaimed photo media artist working in photography, installation and moving image. Her practice explores our connection to nature and rites of passage in contemporary life. In each of Dean’s photographs, her subjects quietly and intimately engage with their natural surroundings. The artist’s unique understanding of light and landscape reveal sensual pieces that invite the viewer to explore the relationship between humans and the natural world.

In Dean’s early bodies of work, she often portrays vulnerability, especially in regards to the human body, which is also explored with a particular focus on the intimacy between women.

The cyclic nature of life and death encompasses Dean’s practice, as does the fragility of the environment. Dean explains the series Endangered (2018) “is a reframing of the notion of ourselves as human beings – mammals in a sensitive ecosystem, as vulnerable to the same forces of climate change as every other living creature. The difference being that the power and responsibility lies with us”. 

She has produced a great many photographic prints, but more recently has been creating tangible, sensory art installations, such as the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art installation ‘Stream of Consciousness’ and the 2016 UNSW installation ‘Here-and-Now’.

Solo shows include Endangered 2018 & 2019, In Our Nature 2018, Instinctual 2017, Force of Nature Ballarat 2017, About Face 2016, Here-and-Now 2015, The Edge 2014, Only Human 2012, This too Shall Pass 2010, Ritualism and Divine Rites, 2009.
In 2013 she was selected for the ArtOmi International Artists Residency in upstate New York. Works produced during this residency won first prize in the 2013 New York Photo Awards – Fine Art series category.

She has received numerous awards and notable achievements including – Winner 2019 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize; Winner 2018 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Prize; Winner 2018 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize; finalist (two works) – 2016 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London; High commendation – 2013 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize; Winner – 2011 Olive Cotton Award and Winner – 2009 Sydney Life: Art & About.

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