The art we encounter in galleries and museums has the power to change how we experience the all-too-visible, everyday world. Over-familiarity makes us oblivious of our daily surroundings.

Windsor, Ontario-based artist Dean Carson chooses his subjects from the quiet elements in daily life that surround us, and indeed enclose us. He depicts empty rooms in homes and public buildings. Carson represents familiar vistas such as the façades of houses and interiors altered by renovation and decoration such as patched drywall, or striped wallpaper.

Despite the importance of rooms as places of shelter and comfort, we quickly become habituated to them. Carson engages with the background, contemplating the space itself and avoiding the traditional focus given to agents within it. His drawings and paintings capture visual irregularities and abstractions hiding in plain sight.

Carson’s scenes deal with contradictions. His works embrace incongruity and ambiguity. Modern design and décor can express individuality yet use materials that are mass-produced and uniform. The beauty of a personal or public space can be challenged by an almost unnerving emptiness. Unsurprisingly, the artist develops his paintings using photos from real estate listings, film stills, and found photos as resources. These guides, however, are often degraded, through low resolution, photocopying, and the fading of old prints. Notions of originals and copies also inform his work, alongside more formal relationships of amplitude, frequency, and density of colour and tone.

Image: Dean Carson, Untitled, 2017, collaged panels, oil on wood, Collection of the artist