Caroline Deane showed a great passion for art and drawing since her childhood. She studied at the British School in Rome and at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London, and completed her studies at Beijing’s Central Academy of Art learning Chinese drawing techniques that she employs today in her work. She has since taught those techniques at the V&A and Hampstead School of Art.
Although she had painted small scale still-life for decades, it was a period in Beijing in 2009/10 that a lack of figure model led her to look for more immediate inspiration in her surroundings. Her mother-in-law’s kitchen particularly inspired her in terms of subjects – old match boxes, bent scissors, aluminium bowls dating back to the 1950s or fascinating items from the Cultural Revolution. Her oils, largely on linen and prepared coloured surfaces, combine the Chinese and European traditions in perfect harmony.
What distance her art pieces from classical still life, is Caroline's choice to leave a void in the background, a space on the canvas that for her creates a dialogue between the central objects and the clarity of the unpainted surface. She states; "It is intrinsically nothingness or space yet it still has a voice, makes a statement and may be leaves the viewer to wonder what could have been said. I found if I filled them all up, the images had a tendency to become claustrophobic and conventional. I believe such spaces allow the picture to breathe lending to it a sense of freedom and informality".
In recent years, Caroline has increasingly become focused on an exploration of the human figure, although in the first stage her drawings are completely abstract. In the latter stage, they become more structured, representational pieces.
Caroline describes herself as a classically influenced contemporary artist. She was influenced by Cezanne, Vuillard Bonnard, the later still life series of Manet and sometimes Van Gogh, because of the monumental quality of their works contrasting with the modest domestic subject matter. She also draws much inspiration from ancient Chinese philosophy.
Caroline has been exhibiting successfully in London since the mid 1980s and has recently drawn attention from the Chinese art collecting community, recently showing a series of her still life works at the Liliji Art Gallery in Beijing. She has lectured on contemporary British art at one of the leading art schools in China. Although now London based, Caroline frequently visits China and continues to be influenced by Chinese philosophy and painting techniques.
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