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Exploring Contemporary Art of the Salish Sea with Danielle Dean

ArtSpring, in collaboration with Salt Spring Arts and SJIMA, is exhibiting a collection of work by San Juan Islands artists from April 21st through May 24th, at the ArtSpring Gallery, Salt Spring Island, BC, in the first of two cross-border exhibitions. The second installment will feature Southern Gulf Island artists at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, September 22nd - December 4th, 2023.

This blog series explores the work of the San Juan Island artists currently exhibiting in the first of these cross-border exhibitions.



The first featured artist in this collaboration is Danielle Dean, an artist, educator, and curator whose work explores a sense of place on multiple registers. Her work, which spans photography, painting, and sculpture, is a dialogue with places of natural phenomena and a study of environmental rhythms. Dean's pieces are ultimately multidisciplinary, combining traditional photographic techniques with painting, and drawing, to create a final unique piece that blurs the lines between photography and painting. With her sculptures, she often works directly with the land by burying the objects or submerging them in water. This literal collaboration with the environment gives the work a geographical patina, amplifying the sense of place.

Dean's goal for the viewer is to be immersed in these meditations, finding connections to their own ecology and spirituality. Her work encourages an awareness of how the natural realm sustains us and what we can do to preserve the environment, both for our own well-being and for the future of our planet.

Untitled (Salish Sea), 2016 Archival Pigment Print 84″ x 123″

High Intertidal, 2021 Archival Pigment Print, Graphite, Wax 16.5″ x 17.5″

(Phacellophora camtschatica), 2022 Archival Pigment Print, Graphite, Wax 18.5″ x 14.5″



Danielle M Dean is an artist, educator, and curator whose work explores a sense of place on multiple registers. Danielle showed her artistic tendencies early in life, spending many hours of her Ohio childhood propped up at a drafting table in her father’s sign shop or exploring the Toledo Museum of Art. Her deep love of the sea developed on yearly family trips to the Gulf of Mexico, and she became a certified scuba diver at age fourteen.

After completing a BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Danielle moved to San Juan Island in 2003, drawn to the region’s natural beauty and strong arts community. She has been living and working with the Salish Sea ever since, occasionally journeying beyond the island to study, travel, and teach. She received an MFA in photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2017. Recent artist residencies include The Studios at Mass MoCA, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and a teaching residency at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. She works from her home near Mitchell Bay, where she lives with her partner Thom and daughter Josephine.

Explore Danielle Dean's work in greater depth on her website by clicking here.


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