Beware of the Dog
Venice, CA– L.A. Louver is pleased to announce an exhibition of new sculptures and works on paper by Richard Deacon. Created primarily out of handmade paper, Deacon made the works for Beware of the Dog during a five-week residency at Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI), in 2011 and 2012.
“I am fundamentally interested in the relation of the human subject to the material world and in the boundary between inner and outer – which both perception and language mediate – and in the material object to carry meaning.”
– Richard Deacon
Richard Deacon is well known for using a diverse range of materials: from stainless steel, wood and clay, to photography and screen print. However, the STPI residency provided Deacon with his first opportunity to work with handmade paper. Through his manipulation of paper, and using various coloring and washing techniques, Deacon explores ideas of disruption and connectivity, while building subtle relationships between volume and space.
With a series of freestanding sculptures that he calls Housing, Deacon references the apartment towers that are prevalent in Singapore – known locally as HDB blocks – as well as the ways in which residents design their unique interiors. Each Housing features a cluster of polygonal columns that project upwards from a shallow base encasement. The columns are made from sheets of paper that Deacon has colored through the traditional technique of marbling : a single floating of the paper over an oil-based paint and water mixture. The columns are constructed by the simple act of folding, and are held together with button magnets.
“My use of colour, in particular in the Housing pieces, is undoubtedly indebted to the ways I have used colour over the past ten or more years. This work has been shown consistently at L.A. Louver: from my first exhibition of colored ceramics in 2000, to a kind of marbling process that I used in the More for the Road series that I exhibited some years – Richard Deacon
The new sumptuously colored paper sculptures, which are domestic in scale (measuring between 30 and 60 in./76 and 152 cm in height, and no more than 32 in./81 cm in width), demonstrate Deacon’s ongoing interest in the qualities of material, and the constructive use of the void.
A dynamic interaction exists between the Housing sculptures and Deacon’s wall bound, three-dimensional subjects. Deacon titles this latter series Konrad Witz, after the early fifteenth century German painter, who depicted lavish clothing with complex folds. Each Konrad Witz construction begins as a large sheet of handmade paper, which Deacon compresses into a form that resembles rumpled fabric. This act of compression is a new mode for Deacon, who is known for expanding, twisting and stretching materials.
In contrast to the Housing, the Konrad Witz sculptures have little or no color, thus placing form center stage. A series of large-scale screen prints accompany the sculptures. An abstract colored shape comprised of crosshatched strips of paper seems to float across the picture plane. Each shape finds its origin in a master drawing that Deacon created as the palimpsest for this group of images, and also inspired the exhibition title: Beware of the Dog.
“After I had been at it a while, I realized that I had drawn a dog... The title comes from that moment of recognition – a little homage to Picasso throwing a spanner in Braque’s works by saying ‘There’s a squirrel in that painting!’” – Richard Deacon
Richard Deacon CBE (born 1949, Bangor, Wales) has been a leading figure in sculpture since the 1980s. Deacon studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art, London (1970-1973) and the Royal College of Art (1974-1977), where he obtained an M.A. in Environmental Media. He received international acclaim during the early 1980s with his inclusion in important group exhibitions at the Tate, ICA, Hayward and Serpentine Galleries in London; the Central and South American tour of Transformations: New British Sculpture , (1983); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1984). Deacon’s work was brought to the attention of a West Coast audience through the landmark exhibition, A Quiet Revolution: British Sculpture Since 1965 , that toured from Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Newport Harbor Art Museum in California, as well as the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., and the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY (1987). Deacon has since maintained an active schedule of museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the world. Solo shows include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988); Whitechapel Gallery, London (1998); Tate Liverpool (1999); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2003); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2003-04); 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), representing Wales; and Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporarin, Strasbourg (2010). In 1987, Deacon was awarded the Turner Prize, and in 1997 was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture in France. Deacon was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1998, and a year later Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded Deacon Commander of the British Empire.
Deacon’s current projects include a new public commission for the cornice of St. James’ Gateway, Piccadilly, London. Measuring 82 feet (25 meters) in length, and created in ceramic blocks, Deacon’s sculpture will be integrated into the architecture of the new façade and unveiled this year. A solo exhibition of Deacon’s work may currently be seen at Centro de l’Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, through 10 March 2013. Deacon is also working towards a major retrospective that will open at Tate Britain, London in spring 2014.