Paradox and Conformity

October 22, 2012 – November 30, 2012

Richard Deon’s work is deeply inspired by his childhood education when he was taught history from outdated American social studies textbooks that included illustrations reflecting the so-called “consensus history” of the 1950s in the United States. A major influence for the artist has been the book Visualized Civics, published to teach—through illustrations and text—social behaviors and concepts to the young generation of American citizens of the time.

Through Deon’s contemporary use of imagery found in Visualized Civics, the original scenes from the book lose their rational, didactic meaning. What remains are isolated figures and structures assembled into new scenarios through visual and conceptual collages that can be defined as a sort of social surrealism. Deon’s works reflect a language based on recursive imagery, and while always identical in form, the key figures change meaning in relation to the context of each new work.

The conformity promoted in the 1950s through familiar and reassuring images is deconstructed in Deon’s work and represent paradoxical conditions of today’s society, where relativism and individualism have become the new and uncertain principles of our lives.

– Bartholomew F. Bland, Curator, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York


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