Sunday 24 September 2017

What Lies Beneath: Liberty by Anne Deon

Liberty by Anne Deon, Oil and dayglo on canvas Courtesy of the artist

Liberty by Anne Deon
Liberty by Anne Deon

Niall MacMonagle

Born in NYC, Anne Deon's parents, Italian immigrants, were proud of their artistically gifted daughter until she chose art, not book-keeping nor teaching, as a career. "Disavowed by my father," Deon crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan in her twenties and lived in that "hotbed of youthful creativity for 20 years. I was part of the music/art scene, played in legendary clubs - Max's Kansas City, CBGB, and Alan Vega, from the avant-garde band Suicide was my mentor and lover. I was painting, playing in my own band with Johnny Dynell, joined The Alan Vega Band, toured Europe a couple of times".

Then, in 1984, "suddenly, in a flash, the image, the symbol, the timelessness of the concept of freedom and liberty struck me. Obsessed with painting this magnificent image, I prepared the canvas, put some music on the record player (record player!) and got going. I began with Liberty then added the Jesse James gang, Muhammad Ali - a hero of mine since the Vietnam era - Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, a creative angel and rebel... and named the series Words, Heroes, Outlaws and Rebels".

Deon now lives in Florida where Coral Springs Museum of Art held a Retrospective of her work in 2012.

From Friday, the Statue of Liberty stands guard over Donald Trump's America. Deon worked for Hillary Clinton and does not mince her words: "Trump gives every indication of becoming a reckless, egomaniacal, uninformed and dangerous president. His national security team, headed by (Michael) Flynn, is radical and in some cases has propagated 'fake news'. I am stunned daily by the scope of Trump's dysfunction."

Deon's work is celebratory, colour-filled and on the side of life. Exuberant and free, this painting, 6ft x 6ft, featured in the US sitcom The King of Queens, on a magazine cover to commemorate 9/11, has "no blatant political message". Yet "I am confident that the viewer will bring their own ideas to the image - one person's idea of Liberty may be another's idea of oppression".

Right now Deon is "alarmed" and yet she hopes that America "will return to its struggle to help craft a better, peaceful world."

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