New Exhibition – Friday 26th August to Saturday 10th September 2016

Over 50 years in the making. Over 100 substantial works in a range of media and styles. A truly once in a lifetime event. A unique collection that explores the vexed relationships-between 19th Century academic art and the birth of modernism- as well as  other matters more mundane.

Brian E Deagon presents an unprecedented show of his painting from Friday August 26th  to Saturday September 10th 2016.

Free entry, artworks for sale.


Reload Espresso Bar

9 Chrome St, Salisbury

Cafe Opening times: Mon-Fri 6:30am – 2pm and  Sat 7am – 2pm

Gallery Opening times: as above, plus Friday and Saturday nights and the odd afternoon

Saturday 27th September: Reload Espresso Bar Variety Show and Exhibition

  • Food and drinks available – Licenced.

Return to the Fishermans Shack

Artists statement:
Return to.the fishermans shack.
When i was at Banyo High school my mate David would drag me at weekends to Stradbroke Island to fish for tailor. There was a fishermans shack. In it there was a box of photogravure magazines with reproductions of paintings by Lord Leighton,Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema,Jean Leon Gerome. Solomon Joseph Solomon,.They had names like rock singers .I wished i had a cool name like that.
And i wished i could paint like that.

Back at school we studied art. At least we thought we did. The latest trends and modern artists right through secondary school.
But i had struck a problem.Picasso and Pollock had cool names ,but it was clear to me that they didnt paint like my mates from the fishermans shack.
If you could,why wouldnt you?and why wouldnt anyone show me how.?
So i studied to become an art teacher.I raised the problem of the artists from the fishermans shack again.
What was more troubling was the silence or even hostility their names evoked . Starting with the older art lecturers the venom spread to younger students
So for half my life i have lived in a very confused state thinking i was the problem. It was my fault i couldnt paint like that  Not so now.I have learned many secrets from the shack.

An artist friend asked one day ” what are you trying to do?”
I said”paint one decent nude before i die”
He muttered.” You wont live long enough”
I muttered ” i. Think i already have”
Brian E Deagon

Cubism still

    There is no such thing as Cubism. Not according to the unreliable Picasso. Nonetheless,something happened, and one name is as good as another.
    The rectangular transparent mark of Cezannes square flat hog hair brush occasioned the description “little cubes”. It resonated and stuck. We are stuck with Cubism.imagen
    image image image TT


If we draw a square, it could just as easily represent one of Cezannes brushmarks,the frame of a painting, a plan or elevation of a cube. All would be true. Should we wish to show all six sides,we open it out and flatten it,in one of a finite number of configurations,like a cardboard cube in the cereal box with little flaps ready to glue.

This flattening means the cube occupies more space in the picture frame,so if we draw many cubes ,overlapping is almost inevitable Overlapping was in the air. Photographic double exposures,xrays,and new huge shop windows that showed not only the merchandise in the window but also the artists reflection and what lay behind him in the street. According to the reliable Braque,speculation about the Fourth dimension had nothing to do with it. Cezanne had overlapped his brushmarks while looking for an edge wavering between binocular and monocular vision.That was enough. Bargue had emphasised all drawing began with line,and straight ones at that.The horse had bolted,and Einstein was not in the saddle.

For anyone searching for alternative visual language,empire building provided access to an array of indigenous art via anthropology, and protoclassical art via archeology. You didnt find tribal artifacts in the ” Art” gallery,but when found, distortion,frontality.simplification, suggested formal possibilities unimagined by the Salon.

Lets examine our “little cube” more closely. Lets assume we draw it, and as we roll it between thumb and forefinger a remarkable fact emerges. Sometimes we see only the square side plane. All the rest is hidden.
Then we are presented with two planes which recede from the line where the planes meet. The parallei to the picture plane.
Finally in three point perspective a corner reveals three planes receding,and all visible. Up to this point all is tradition.

BUT, i want more….More sides,and i have two choices. I can flatten my cube as before..or i can present the cube as a skeletal linear structure so i can see the hidden planes behind. In orthographic perspective any competent engineer or architect would understand..Remember,the cubists tried to explain their goals tO the public.They expected comprehension.

I now have two strategies for revealing the planes,lines ,and corners including those hidden in traditional perspective. But which to use? How far do we dissemble our cube in order to reassemble it? It is important to realise these choices or options are arbitrary but not random.

For example,can we keep the transparency and .”fill in ” some planes.? ..”paysage ” was the response. Translated, it means to walk through the landscape. Technically it meant breaking the” asterisks” created when lines intersect, typically a divisionist brush did the walking

Once paysage is introduced then light becomes an issue. Unshackled from perspective,it forms a continuous counterchange of chiaroscuro ,building toward the focus point.,not unlike the “cone of liight” of traditional drawing but conceived not just percieved. Most facets display an internal gradual transition of tone.

This brings us to composition,and the differences between primitive,analytic and synthetic cubism.
Simply,Primitive Cubism remained three dimensional and simplified forms into broad planes of cylinders,cubes,cones.
Analytic cubism dissected forms further,introduced transparency,but kept an overall traditional ” elevation” view
.Synthetic cubism introduced arbitrary forms and colour.
I am concerned in this essay with analytical cubism.

Once the form is broken down into the facets of our cubes,flattened and made trensparent, we will have lost the figure we had in the first place. How to restore it? Emblematic signs( a hat,moustache,guitar).lettering, faux textures,collage were all responses Also the distinction between form and space is blurred (faceted). One technique for reassembling the image was to find and emphasise lines which could be found running continuous through the image. By using tone, these could be made to imply large planes,running above and below each other parallel to the picture plane and frequently casting shadows on each other. There is no difference between these shapes and the “envelope.” used in traditional academic drawing, even when later it was collaged first then faceted..It has become clear that these long lines defining large planes must be part of the faceting process and derive often from the “spine” or envelope of the figure. It is here the blurring of space and form begins.

Incidentally, light and colour present real difficulty that the cubists themselves avoided. Even if I change my viewpoint,the light still comes from the same direction .what is in full light is in full shadow 180 degrees around. And what light shines on the inside plane?

Finally,one aspect of modernism in general is the degree of ” finish”. It became part of the aesthetic to leave the periphery underdone,implying that the process of analysis and reassembly is never complete. For me, analytical cubism itself is not complete,and remains to be explored,particularly in relation to landscape

Brian E Deagon
17 sep .2014

Sent from my iPad=

Kitsch me if you can

imageimageWhen Dave and i went fishing we were after tailor. In a fishermans shack i found a box of art books  .I was learning .”art” at high school or zqqzso i thought .As it turned out,I was being propagandised  to accept modern art. My box of art books didnt. These guys could  paint and draw! when i mentioned Alma  Tadema and Lord Leighton ,Solomon , Millais :you would think i had consorted with the devil..Not so,it was a casual encounter at the beach,
I did not realize it would take a lifetime to  decipher what had happened to me,to undo the conflict in me.

On one hand, Modernism  On the other, Academism.  Presented as a clear cut choice,one or the other.    It rapidly became a matter of trying to reconcile opposites. After years of study i know that dichotomy was and is false.

Brian E Deagon

Being young i couldnt see the trap that had been sprung. Study of art came equal to teaching it.but in retrospect,our teachers at college were mediocre artists, and left us to our own devices.  So long as Cezanne got a nod so did your career. There was no academic drawing class.

Bourgeous Realism is an unfortunate descriptor. Because it needs to cover many styles of realism. It also fails to see that these  realistic styles( including Surrealism were adapted at  need,modified  to suit a particular  narrative. Style was not an outcome but an expressive device.

Henceforth  it was a matter of conscious choice of styles,not merely mastery  of one.

if we ever realised there was a problem,we had to solve it. My nose had detected something rotten in .modern art,and noteably the art market.which looked like an army of gender challenged shop assistants. image

somehow i persisted,finding my.own way down the Pollock road. Till one night i saw clearly, “Brian,you cant draw”    An_Audience_at_Agrippas

at that, Alma Tadema and Lord Leighton came to my recue.

Kitch and me

imageWhichever version of the history of art ńyouu read,its probably wrong..History is written by the forgotten. Its mostly just pale shadows of Greenberg and Rosenberg throwing drunken punches in a frozen New York dawn(or maybe it was Paris before the War.)
Consider that academicians had been at odds for four centuries with pistols drawn ,engaged in arcane debates,about technique and style .The introduction of a brash american or two shouldnt have mattered. Terms of abuse were mandatory ..”Pompier ! “realist,” “romantic,” “impressionist!” .”classicist!”
These were epithets with sharp edges,and contemporary artist academics wore labels proudly. French Polish Russian German and English, all had stronger national traditions to defend artistically, than the Bostonians and New yorkers.But the Americans  had dollars,and they were looking  for a cheap bargain basement deal.on the new art.
Trouble was, first they had to invent it, Greenberg took until 1939.
The americans were digging over easy ground.,looking for anything to justify the emergence of modernism. Hindsight supreme.

Example.signpost event. ultramarine blue became available in the1830″s and was adopted immediately. 100 years later came debate. Noone was shocked. The pigment was after all invented specifically for artists. Skies, water and silks came alive,but remained subject to the tonal modifications of black and white .Cabanels Birth of Venus was hugely popular and remained so. Wojciech Gersons version too met with delight in1895 .Both versions holding very different assumptions about social class,about reality,about gender.But.noone was calling for impressionisms head. The salon still ruled.,noisily
it was progress.Alma Tademas skies and water were at least as new as Monets.
Realism demands a crisp brush.Impressionism had not arrived. But Art Nouveau had,
From a different premise (science).the inclusion of prismatic colours (especially blue)in the colour wheel resulted in a radical palette-including. complementaries..”broken colour ” it was a long time coming but seemed to be overnight.Classicism was as blue as Realism

The cropped figures of Japanese art,use of flat decorative shapes, experiments in “depth of field” were some of the techniques artists experimentd with for fifty years.
Here the modernists could SEE the modern.They didnt have to explain it. they could avoid the influence of media,skip shifts in society,ignore the effects on artists education .It is ironic that greenberg had a Marxist belief in revolution. Greenbergs took place in cafes and newssheets. All rather bougoise

They found underdeveloped ideas, precedents,precursors,.what in jazz was called “roots ” And they found a lot of american artists to promote.There were a lot in Paris
.They found a lot of art to despise in their messionic zeal.(Bougereau,Lord Leighton chassier Solomon Gerome. )Cigar chomping critics come prophets turned out to be merely apologists with little knowledge of historic trends and their artists avante garding dilletantes How on earth can you put a pollock beside a Sargent?or a Gerome?.,then dismiss the latter as kitsch.? Especially since a lot of artisic production was………..kitsch. It was never a level playing field. some work was just. Awful. But noone of that gets into books “Fifty of the worst paintings of the c19”
It is a matter of record,the foreign assault worked. Art vacated Europe,and only the paintings which fitted the uniform were preserved.and stored away by Kahnwieler ,Stein and Rothschild.
The atelier system slowly collapsed before the depth of the revolution was realised.Art survived in Russia,Boston,Sydney.
And its.i back.



The earliest and possibly clearest examples of subject determining stylistic differences  is to be found in Neolithic art.

With remarkable consistency Animals are portrayed with direct realism based on observation while hunting , and probably dissection occuring when eating. Humans are shown smaller in scale, rudimentary in anatomy , and represented as schemata.  Landscape depiction is rare, small and diagrammatic, plan or map views prevail albeit with differing conventions. eg rock art pointers to real features which complete the map. Continue reading ACADEMIC LANDSCAPE AN OXYMORON? MUSINGS ON IDEALISM


Now I enter what Ingres called the ” probity” of art. Having suggested to a friend that they treat edges with more consideration i did a little drawing. Of a mandarin.

The outline silhouette is a beginning. Then we consider the difference between surfaces that turn away rapidly or slowly. Do we render this by blurring the slow and sharpening the rapid? Or do we darken the sharp and lighten the gentle? The temptation is to do both,but if you use a tonal signifier this will invariably run counter to any rendering of light. Continue reading Edge

The Black paintings

Darkness as wrapping

Black is the dark energy from which the universe is spawned.

It is the source of light and colour.image

It reveals as much as it conceals

Like an empty stage, black is portent, potent and pregnant, but paused in anticipation. Black is. silent.

imageWarm and inviting or threatening to freeze like its close relative, Chaos,

Black can swallow substance like a fog,devouring shape and masking the weight of dreams.Yet it  sharpens the battle axe edge with Bintent,given form to follow.

Given subtlety, black takes on the character of its mixturesnjxs

It mutates into grey.

I The ancient ones knew  all colours came from black and white.  Our age was spawned by  Newtons prisms.For over 150 years we have been afraid of black.


“Never use black” intoned as incantation by generations.You have heard it yourself. Maybe said it yourself.This ought to be described as a clinically diagnosable medical condition and mandatorily notifiable contagious aesthetic position.


Certainly the so called impressionist painters had no qualms about using black. They didn’t let  theory spoil a good picture .And there are many.  Gray pictures ,using blacks and completed in the studio.

I have learned from the atelier to mix even my lights with black


I sing in praise of black.

A blank wall and a burnt stick.


Brian E Deagon 2015