Artist biography

Welsh sculptor. In 1980 he began making a series of sheet metal and laminated wood sculptures in simple organic shapes, their surfaces congruent with their structure. Deacon considered himself a fabricator rather than a constructor and used unformed basic material to make sculptures that explored, by the use of metaphor, ideas that defined human experience through language and the senses. Although the forms devised by Deacon were fundamentally abstract in appearance, this metaphorical reference to the body and its methods of gathering information was alluded to in idiomatic titles such as The Eye Has It (1984; London, ACGB; see England, fig. 34). As Deacon widened both his vocabulary and his range of materials, incorporating, for instance, vinyl and plywood into Boys and Girls (1982; London, British Council), so he increased the depth and complexity of metaphor into a highly flexible personal idiom.

Richard Deacon: Sculpture, 1980–84 (exh. cat. by M. Newman, Edinburgh, Fruitmarket Gal., 1984)
M. J. Jacob: ‘Richard Deacon: The Skin of Sculpture', A Quiet Revolution: British Sculpture since 1965, ed. T. A. Neff (London, 1987), pp. 72–91
Richard Deacon: Recent Sculpture, 1985–1987 (exh. cat. by C. Harrison, Maastricht, Bonnefantenmus., 1987)


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