Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Art in Print (Issue 5) Review: Richard Deacon at Paragon Press

British sculptor Richard Deacon’s newest prints from Paragon Press are, at first glance, linear and flat in the Greenbergian sense of the word, refusing illusion and emphasizing the frontal surface of the picture plane. Based on a series of drawings Deacon completed in 2008 while on a trip to Mali, these monochrome, fractured polygons in metallic red, blue, silver, and gold reference the African patterns and architecture of the capital Bamako, a city in which maps have little function and buildings serve as the main points of reference. The angular lines of the Bamako prints echo the nesting loops of Deacon’s twisting geodesic sculptures, but set against flat white paper rather than within the spatial context of a surrounding environment. The Bamako prints become cross sections, laser-thin dissections of Deacon’s three-dimensional work. Yet despite this deceptive flatness, without a trace of relief embossing the ink stands heavy, with a velvet surface subtly mottled by the pull of the paper from the block.

The plates have been subtly rotated and layered, forcing depth in the diamond-shapes where color overlaps—the metallic ink forces you to move around the prints, to look from many angles, to consider them spatially, and it is this bodily effect that returns Deacon’s line to sculpture.

—Julia V. Hendrickson, for Art in Print, vol. 1, no. 5

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