Pin It

Parting Shot: Richard Deon 


A Richard Deon work contains all the elements of a political cartoon—easily discernible images, symbols, and a message. But the pieces don’t fit together. After a double-take, squinting at it, or taking a step back, it’s still puzzling.

That enigmatic encounter is exactly what Richard Deon is after. “I like to have a work that has maybe two or three different meanings that could be just as valid,” he says. “You can feel a strong sense of direction, a narrative starting to form, and you don’t know the beginning or the end but it’s in progress.”

Deon got his start doodling in his junior high social studies textbooks, creating new scenes and drawing mustaches on characters used to inform children about public institutions and history. This pastime led him to the realization that “these kinds of accidents or even technical accidents or thinking accidents could be seen as art.” Fascinated with the recurring figures in circus posters and the 1950s textbook Visualized Civics, Deon was drawn to the continuity of images suggestive of our shared exposure to the same logos and famous faces.

Deon’s paintings are composed from a group of primarily black-and-white motifs, characters, and shapes—recognizable, universal subjects like Abraham Lincoln or Roman armor—that he places in confusing juxtapositions, creating surreal scenes. His precise, editorial eye developed in his second career as a graphic designer spills over into his art. The empty, mustard-colored sky in Weehawken 2 looks like it’s waiting for text.

Deon likens his work to composing dreams. “You think, I’ve had this chase nightmare before but it’s a little bit different,” he says. “If dreams reuse things over and over again, maybe I should make my paintings run on a track.” For those of us who look for meaning in our dreams, Deon draws a curious link between commercialism and the subconscious.

“Richard Deon: Paradox and Conformity” will be exhibited at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers from July 3 through September 7. (914) 963-4550; www.hrm.org.

click to enlarge Richard Deon, Weehawken 2, acrylic on canvas, 58” x 47”, 2008.
  • Richard Deon, Weehawken 2, acrylic on canvas, 58” x 47”, 2008.

Speaking of...

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
MAYfest NY: Music, Art, Yoga Festival @ Surprise Lake Camp

MAYfest NY: Music, Art, Yoga Festival

Fri., May 26 and Sat., May 27 — MAYfest is family-friendly festival centered around its acronym; Music, Art, & Yoga...
Liberate the Earth Dance @ Omi International Arts Center

Liberate the Earth Dance

Sat., May 27, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. — Wearable Art/Costume Workshop: Friday, May 26 at 4:30 PM, OFFSITE: Hudson Area...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • On the Cover: Margot Kingon
  • On the Cover: Margot Kingon

    Margot Kingon discusses the interconnection between her family and her creative work.
    • May 1, 2017
  • Beacon Open Studios
  • Beacon Open Studios

    The ninth annual Beacon Open Studios tour features a self-guided tour of over 50 artist's studios the weekend of May 13-14.
    • May 1, 2017
  • Parting Shot: May 2017
  • Parting Shot: May 2017

    Burst by Linda Stillman
    • May 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Visual Art

More by Lisa Parisio

  • Notorious B.A.R.D.

    A preview the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival's season; including "Bomb-itty of Errors."
    • Jul 28, 2010
  • Hudson Valley Restaurant, Bar & Market Openings

    A guide to notable local debuts.
    • Jul 28, 2010
  • While You Were Sleeping

    John Boehner suggests raising the retirement age to 70; decision on whaling practices reaches stalemate; BP still the Defense Department's largest fuel supplier; and two billion dollars of stimulus money to be used for solar panel plants.
    • Jul 27, 2010
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets