Paradox & Conformity
An Exhibit by Richard Deon
About the Exhibit
Unknown men in black. A shadow at full sail. Abraham Lincoln. During the past 20 years, Richard Deon has explored all these visual icons. His stunning, colorful paintings, prints, and sculptures are inspired by the meanings and motifs of the black-and-white textbook illustrations of the 1950s.
In his exhibition Paradox and Conformity, he arranges his themes in situations that mimic those of the old texts. Viewers find themselves in puzzling territory, where the seemingly familiar becomes an "an uneasy pictorial absurdity." Deon remembers his seventh-grade chance discovery of an old, defaced textbook, Visualized Civics, that changed his view of art, if not history. Taking editorial control, he extended the "visual butchery" into the margins, creating new scenes. As Deon says, "I doodled my own Manifest Destiny, an American social-surrealism, I was later disciplined and issued a clean textbook, a bill, and a stern warning."
Deon grew up in Potsdam, NY, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1978. His studio practice balances projects in publication design and visual arts.
"Paradox and Conformity" will be on view at MVCC's Juergensen Gallery from Sept. 9 to Oct. Oct. 3, 2014.