Dean Dass studied art, philosophy and anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa, B.A. 1978; M.F.A. in printmaking from The Tyler School of Art, Temple University., Philadelphia. Since 1985 he has taught drawing, printmaking, bookarts, and seminars on contemporary art at the University of Virginia, where he directs the Studio Art programs in the McIntire Department of Art. Dass has in recent years established a collaborative relationship and exchange with artists from Scandinavia. He has taught in several universities in Finland and curated exhibitions of contemporary Scandinavian art while bringing a number of Finnish artists to UVa. Several recent exhibitions of his oil paintings focused on Lapland. His own works are held in wide-ranging public collections – from The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Walker Art Center, to The Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä, Finland, as well as numerous university collections. Dass lectures widely on his work and on issues related to contemporary practice.
Wherever I travel – and paint – I think about our relationship within Nature. We live in a clearing in the forest, and that is both literally true and a great metaphor for that larger relationship. I think the artist has a responsibility to work for the greater good and to offer that work and life as a sacrifice. The best meaning of sacrifice is to make sacred. Let us renew those vows with our great mother Amazon.