Thomas Deans of Thomas Deans Fine Art talks exhibits, pivoting and more.
gallerist Thomas Deans
Gallerist Thomas Deans of Thomas Deans Fine Art had barely begun his 2020 exhibition calendar when he found himself having to pivot: “We scrapped everything—the spring exhibitions immediately, and then all the others as it became clear COVID wasn’t going to disappear anytime soon.” He knew his focus needed to be on online sales and local and regional on-approval deliveries, so he transformed his website almost overnight to accommodate his discerning art buyers.
Marlise Newman, “Brave New World” (oil on panel), 36 inches by 36 inches
“After we began to carefully and safely reopen, we saw the slow return of clients and visitors,” he says, while acknowledging that “going forward, we still couldn’t plan for gatherings. Opening receptions and related events were off the table.” As these are important drivers for Deans and the artists, he had to get creative, and he introduced a fall series of mini exhibitions dubbed Artists in Focus. “It evolved from the desire to show work that artists had been making during the pandemic, coupled with the need to present new work in the gallery, even with a reduced number of visitors,” he says. So far Deans has featured artists such as Paul Tamanian and David Kidd.
Marlise Newman, “The Isle of Beautiful Misfits” (oil on panel), 40 inches by 40 inches
Deans has noticed the trend of people investing disposable income into their home, and that includes art, no matter how they have to do it. “More people than ever are buying online,” he says. “I never thought I’d see it, but we’ve had people from all over the country buying from us online. Staying at home can mean looking at bare walls or finding spaces you’d like to fill or rearrange. Even visitors to the gallery have made a list of specific works from the website they’ve come to see.” While “browsing in person isn’t dead,” a large part of his business has moved online and Deans sees the trend as permanent.
Mary Parkman, “A Balancing Act” (oil on canvas), 60 inches by 48 inches
Currently, through Dec. 1, Deans’ Artists in Focus is on new artists Marlise Newman and Mary Parkman. “As we are nearing the end of an emotionally difficult year, we wanted to celebrate the holiday season with art that speaks to optimism, happiness and simple delights,” he says. “The paintings of Marlise Newman and Mary Parkman speak to those emotions. Both create work in multiple genres, but we’ve chosen one from each.” Expect florals from Parkman—they “conjure the delight that flowers bring and radiate a sense of quiet peacefulness,” says Deans—and tapestry-like paintings from Newman. She incorporates “with great delicacy birds and flowers into joyous compositions against backgrounds of a single color,” he says. “We couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the holidays: with happiness and hopes for the year ahead.” 960 Miami Circle NE, Ste. 905
Mary Parkman, “Peonies” (oil on canvas), 36 inches by 36 inches
Photography by: Thomas Deans photo by Patrick Heagney; all others courtesy of artists