My work is an exploration of portrait sculpture in glass. I interpret the figure through living models that represent a connection to my life. I use a life casting process to capture physical details of an individual, and to capture a moment in time and an experience. The process of creating a life mask is intimate and establishes trust and closeness. The subsequent processes of making waxes, molds and glass of that person abstracts the identity slightly but freezes each subject in a state of being that is reflective, introspective and calm. I am inspired by the people and relationships that shape who we are, family stories and memories, feelings of admiration, love, fear and strength.

I want to celebrate intrinsic beauty through physical form and through the afflictions and joys of life’s many stages. The subjects in my portraits project a state of self-awareness while they also serve to reflect the perspective of the viewer and the projections we place on others. I appreciate that the figure in my work directly causes the need to question who the person is and why they matter.

Born in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois, Dean Allison is an artist who lives and works in Penland, North Carolina. He currently is a three-year resident artist at the Penland School of Crafts. Dean received his Master of Art, Visual Arts in Glass from The Australian National University in Canberra in 2010, and earned a B.S. in studio arts from Illinois State University in 2001. He was introduced to glass in 1998 while a student at I.S.U.

Dean has studied and/or worked at The Northlands Creative Glass Center in Scotland, The Canberra Glass Works in Australia, Chicago Hot Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass, Pittsburgh Glass Center, the University of Wolverhampton in England, and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Dean was recognized as a 2013 Rising Star from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and the Creative Glass Center of America. Recent exhibitions include 50 by 50 at The Muskegon Museum of Art and he will be in an exhibition in 2016 at The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.