Material Matters: Uncommon Approaches to Mixed Media | Dean Habegger

On View: July 6 - 28, 2024

Opening Reception Sunday, July 7, 2024, 1-4 pm RSVP

Dean Habegger was born in Clearfield. PA and grew up in Berne, a small town in northeastern Indiana. Early on, he was inspired by his grandmother, who painted, raised and sold flowers and created beautiful handicrafts. Later influences included his artist brother John and the visual aesthetic of Mennonite quilts. He studied at Indiana University in Bloomington, earning a BS in Art Education and a BFA in Painting. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a full graduate merit scholarship, earning an MFA in Painting and Drawing.  

Dean has had work purchased for the Kaiser Permanente Collection, Safeco insurance Collection and the Racine Art Museum Permanent Collection. Over the last 35+ years Dean has lived in Chicago; Laramie, WY; Boulder and Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN and Libertyville, IL. He currently lives and works in his home studio in Kenosha, WI.


I work with a wide variety of materials and processes. These include painting, drawing and mixed media collage and assemblage, often incorporating dried organic materials. Along with creating new works on paper, canvas and wood, I also upcycle materials and rework unfinished older works. Material Matters: Uncommon Approaches to Mixed Media is an exhibition of works created by employing some or all of these processes. 

My work usually comes about through a cyclical process I have been using for 40+ years. Usually, pieces of art develop in a linear process, working with similar ideas or processes for a time. After a while, I cycle back to previous ways of working. Whatever is achieved in the more linear way of working then becomes infused into a future iteration of the cyclical process.  I often have dozens of unfinished works sitting around in the studio – waiting for my working process to evolve in a manner that suits individual pieces and brings them to completion.

The mixed media work has gone through a number of periods of concentration. My use of dried organic materials first started in the late 1980s. While still creating drawings and paintings intermittently, the current phase of using organic materials started in earnest around 2013 to 2015 and has become one of my longest running phases of work in one area to date.

Thematically, this work has evolved so that some of the images created have a relation to much of what has come before in paintings and drawings. Much of the work relies on still life and landscape traditions as building blocks. A visual vocabulary has been established that creates a personal symbolism and iconography, with images and ideas that are used repeatedly. I have found that the dried organic materials can take on symbolic meanings, beyond their physical or visual presence.


This exhibition will be held in the Second Floor Gallery of the Evanston Art Center (EAC). Masks are optional but strongly recommended for students, visitors and staff.

Gallery Hours

Monday–Thursday: 9am–6pm

Friday: 9am–5pm

Saturday–Sunday: 9am–4pm


Artwork sale proceeds benefit both the artist and the Evanston Art Center. If you are interested in purchasing artwork on display, please contact Emma Rose Gudewicz, Director of Development and Exhibition Manager, at [email protected] or (847) 475-5300 x 102.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artwork Pictured (L to R): Dean Habegger, Horns of Pleanty, Holding Together, Stacked Landscape