There is one truth that permeates Dean Dablow’s art: any attempt to depict a thing alters how it is perceived, making the depiction subjective. Rather than creating an interpretive framework that is intuitively understood by viewers, Dablow focuses on creating well-designed compositions. He works in this manner because he feels interpretation is unavoidable and uncontrollable. Being as interpretation is so inherently human, he makes work that is purposefully ambiguous, relying on individuals to make it relatable. The result of this strategy is an oeuvre overflowing with rich points of reference that are ultimately inconsequential to Dablow, but effective nonetheless.
Dablow has purposefully engaged with a variety of media over the course of his career, often mining one for all it is worth before moving on to another for a time. While this progression is sequential and can be tracked chronologically, Everything Is Abstract is laid out in our gallery spaces in a non-linear fashion. This is meant to be more indicative of Dablow’s goals as an artist. It is an homage to his process rather than a staid accounting of it. Each gallery houses a variety of his work that runs the gauntlet from pithy or profound to ominous or joyous. The sensibility of individual works of art may vary, but the unifying feature of the exhibition is the slow reveal achieved by each of them. Dablow’s excellent sense of design is at play in this regard because viewers must discover for themselves an artwork’s truth. The truths you perceive may vacillate between a visceral sense of wonder or an impending sense of doom, but regardless of the sensations you feel, it is crucial to understand they are yours.
Everything Is Abstract is a retrospective featuring examples of Dean Dablow’s work beginning in 1974, and running through 2016. Dablow was born in Superior, Wisconsin, in 1946. He holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and is currently Professor Emeritus at Louisiana Tech University. Dablow was one of only two Northeast Louisiana artists to be featured in A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana. His work resides in the collections of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, the former Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Masur Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and others.