Born in Markdale, Ontario in 1947, Tom Dean settled in Montreal in the late 1960s, where he studied visual art at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) and became a well-known figure in the city’s alternative scene. Relocating to Toronto in 1976, Dean would go on to produce works in several media over the next two decades, including texts, video, sculpture, and prints, while he gained a reputation for his elaborate multidisciplinary performances and monumental sculpture projects. Working between Toronto and New York in the 1980s, Dean exhibited widely in North America with works like “The Floating Staircase” (1978-81), the ruins of which were installed in 1983 at Mercer Union, Toronto; and “Excerpts from a Description of the Universe” (1984-88), shown in several venues including the Centre international d'art contemporain, Montreal, and at the 49th Parallel Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, New York, in 1985. His works were presented in important group and solo shows in Canada and Europe in the 1990s, including the Canada-wide travelling exhibition All That Matters (1988), and an exhibition of his drawings and sculptures at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, Queen's University, Kingston (1990). In 1999, the artist represented Canada at the Venice Biennale; in honour of his selection that year, the Art Gallery of Ontario organized the major survey Tom Dean: Selected Works Past and Present. Dean’s works have been collected by such major institutions as the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; and the Musée des beaux arts de Montréal. He is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto.

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