„House & Garden“ Sculpture by Richard Deacon

„House & Garden“ includes new work of Richard Deacon: photographs, ceramics and sculpture from the past year, exploring relationships  between these materials and processes. The exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York represents recent innovations in the artist’s thinking about sculpture, considering the relationship of image to surface, object making to the pictorial, and sculpture to the plinth, all notions that have been present in his work and are at the nexus of his steadfast interest in a multiplicity of modes of production.

One part of the gallery space is dedicated to two new series of works that are shown in a grid. Glazed ceramic table reliefs titled Flat are identified by number and each rest on individual tables. These are to be seen in conjunction with paired photographs, titled Home & Away, displayed on tilted sides of house-shaped structures, and each again identified by number.

Representing a move from large scale sculpture to smaller scale works, Flat are directed towards the perception of a horizontal surface and allude to the table top itself as a site of interest, each undulating and brightly hued ceramic becoming a vessel itself for smaller, patterned polygonal shapes embedded inside it.

The photographs shown on tables are “akin to small house models, with images on their roofs”, Deacon says. “House & Garden, as an exhibition title comes, in part at least, from this broad association, and more straightforwardly, from the fact that a proportion of the images are taken inside the house, or looking out of a window, or in the garden.”

House & Garden suggests Deacon’s relationship to landscape through sculpture and photography, which continues into the adjacent gallery where wall mounted photographs are shown with ceramic objects, and then into the South Gallery where they are shown in tandem with three larger sculptures in stainless steel and wood, Wave, Mire and Under the Weather.

The artist’s ceramic practice has occupied him over the past twenty years, allowing for material exploration and an investigation into the interrelationships of color, surface, and form, with the rich glazing of the works providing improvisation and chance compositions in the outcome. Deacon says, “Whist most of the objects I make have a sense of being able to be taken apart, the work in ceramic by virtue of the final firing process, undergoes an irreversible change of state.

The interest in making ceramics has a beginning close to that of the sculptures I started in the early 1980s. A group of drawings produced in New York in 1978-79 was first followed by throwing clay on the wheel as a way of working on the inside and outside of an object at the same time and as a paradigm for a way of working that produced volume around a hollow.”

Just as his ceramic works provide a basis for experimentation within the realm of the sculptural, the photograph has also served a role in Deacon’s practice since the beginning. “What interested me when I was young was a way of recording what I could see”, says the artist, and indeed since the early seventies, “the relationship between photography and sculpture was continually under discussion”.

Over time, his photographic practice became tied to the exterior and the experience of landscape, either on extensive walks in the countryside, or as in this exhibition, looking out from the interior of a space. Whereas early groups of pictures, such as Atlas (1986-1990) paired images and drawings, with the photo as a site for an embedded drawing, later, as in This is Not A Story (1992) collections of pictures become a parallel activity to sculpture, allowing construction of sequences of meaning by association, leading to complex and allusive interconnecting patterns as signifiers.

HOUSE AND GARDEN
RICHARD DEACON
MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY
NEW YORK
Through 16 February 2019
mariangoodman.com

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