British, born 1949
Like a Bird, 1984 Laminated wood, 121 x 208 x 205 in. (307.3 x 528.3 x 520.7 cm.)
Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas
Deacon's evocative objects cross-reference the natural and the fabricated, the organic and the man-made. The lobed shapes in Like a Bird, seen in different configurations in earlier drawings and sculptures such as an untitled work of 1981 and For Those Who Have Ears No. 2 (1983) (Deacon, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 1984-85, pp. 10, 21, 37), combine with the title to suggest the looping paths and delicate movement of birds in flight. The structure consists of a closed line in a single plane that has been rotated into three positions, carving out a large three-dimensional volume. Thin sheets of metal and laminated strips of wood are Deacon's two favored materials. Both stress a personal ethic of the handmade (so different from the impersonality of much Minimalist technique), while the latter imparts a particular delicacy to his structures. The novel shapes, the straightforward materials and technique (unencumbered by art-historical associations), and the physical presence of the object give Like a Bird a fresh eloquence that is characteristic of Deacon's work in general.