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14 Nov 2016

Both Historical and Contemporary: An Established Atlanta Art Gallery Heads West to Open a Second Space on El Paseo

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"Spree," by Paul Tamanian, mixed media on aluminum, 78 by 46 inches. "Spree," by Paul Tamanian, mixed media on aluminum, 78 by 46 inches.

After three years of visits from Georgia to the California desert, Atlanta gallery owner Thomas Deans decided he wanted to set up shop here.

He opened Thomas Deans Fine Art on El Paseo in September 2016.

“My partner and I fell in love with the desert,” he said. “My belief is more galleries create more buzz and interest. We met a lot of people here who are art-lovers; (with more galleries), there’s more to look at for every window-shopper.”

He added a quip: “Atlanta is a place to make money, and people come here to spend money!”

Speaking of money, Thomas Deans offers works at every price point, from miniature oils for as little as $95, to larger pieces starting at just below $1,000, to a variety of beautiful paintings and sculpture selling for up to $20,000.

Thomas Deans began his career as a music historian, and supervised educational publications at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Nonetheless, his love for the visual arts remained ever-present, ever since the age of 14, when he purchased his first piece as an art collector. While Deans grew up primarily in the Orlando area, his grandparents were from Canada, and because his father was a naval officer, the family traveled a lot and at one point lived in England. He discovered he enjoyed the art there.

“British art is underappreciated,” he said.

Deans joined with a business partner to open The Gallery Downstairs in 1985 in London; that gallery, which he had for a couple of years, specialized in 18th- and 19th-century British drawings. Thomas Deans would also co-establish a gallery in Tallahassee, Fla., called Thomas Deans and Co.

In 1999, Dean opened Thomas Deans Fine Art in Atlanta. He included historical works and then turned toward modern, internationally known British masters such as Lucian Freud and Henry Moore. Deans later began showing works by contemporary American and European artists, as well as select photographers.

He decided to close the Tallahassee gallery in 2006 to focus on his efforts in Atlanta. “Atlanta was booming, and I couldn’t keep up with two different focuses at both galleries,” he said.

After falling in love with the Coachella Valley, Deans again has two galleries. At his El Paseo gallery, he shows works by a variety of artists including Stewart Nelson, a leading photographer. Nelson has an offbeat sensibility and uses camera angles that coalesce seamlessly with the technical side.

Two of the more intriguing contemporary artists at Thomas Deans Fine Art are Paul Tamanian and Scott Upton. 

“Paul Tamanian is our most popular artist here,” Deans said. “He makes two- and three-dimensional abstract art and mid-century paintings with automotive paint. He preserves his mixed-media works with ultraviolet-filtering clear coat.”

The Tallahassee-based artist is an innovative ceramic sculptor working in aluminum. Tamanian’s expressive sculpture is light, although thanks to his finesse and glazing skills, many works appear quite heavy.

Upton is an Atlanta-based color-field abstraction painter.

“Some of his paintings are more architectural,” Deans said, “and others are Turner-like landscapes with a horizon line.”

Upton’s paintings are created with inks and acrylics with gold- or silver-leaf underpaintings. He wipes away and layers multiple surfaces with iridescent color, depicting nature’s adherence to time or timelessness. Upton’s laborious process-driven paintings display a gentle serenity seeping through layers of paint and canvas.

The selection at Thomas Deans Fine Art is an exciting addition to the prominent Palm Desert art scene.

Thomas Deans Fine Art, located at 73655 El Paseo, Suite E, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily. For more information, call 760-797-7424, or visit www.thomasdeansfineart.com.

Below: "Mirage," by Scott Upton, mixed media on canvas, 60 by 72 inches.

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