Context Galleries 1
25 Feb 06 – 18th Mar 06
These paintings represent something of a shift in focus for the artist whose previous work was primarily abstract. Duffy here uses methods of painting that are deliberately ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, ignoring traditional tastes of harmony of composition and technique. This new work mixes elements of representation with abstraction. The work is influenced by Giotto (1267-1337) in particular his fresco ‘Joachim’s Dream’.‘Joachim’s Dream’ is part of a cycle of fresco depicting the life of Joachim, an Old Testament figure, at the Cappella Srovegni (Arena Chapel) Padua, Italy. Duffy is influenced by the strong architectural elements in Giotto’s work, who for example in ‘Joachim’s Dream’ depicts Joachim in an almost cube-like manner. Giotto’s fresco depicts Joachim sheltering in a hut and a rock. Duffy’s work explores habitats, shelters, retreats from the world. Doors and windows punctuate abstract swirls though it isn’t clear if we are viewing the inside or outside of the structure. There are echoes of Samuel Beckett in these works particularly Beckett’s concerns with claustrophobia and constriction. In these paintings the viewer is both inside and outside the work, trapped inside the work and at the same time witnessing the scene from the outside. There are elements of the theatre in the construction of the works. The windows and doors remind the viewer of facades or props. Neither abstraction or representation completely dominates.
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