|Room 2 installation view all photos Robert Wedemeyer|
|April in Jamul (yellow)|
|Room 1 Installation|
|The Las Vegas Story|
To clarify, I was shooting at paint pellets with an air rifle, not paint pellets with a paint ball gun. Anyway it's nice to have Eva Hess mentioned in an article about my work.
|If you can't beat 'em, bite 'em|
|I can feel the whole world turn 'round|
here's a chunk of the press release!
Throughout his 20-year career, Duffy has been deeply engaged in a postmodern practice of recycling, reworking, and re-contextualizing found material. In his most recent exhibitions this practice has morphed into a recycling of his own work and ideas. This approach culminated in the artists last solo exhibition at the gallery during which he dissolved his studio (which had always been located in his garage) and sold all remaining objects from the studio as a garage sale. In Paintings we witness a distinct change in Duffys artistic strategy. He has transitioned away from a modality of looking back and re-contextualizing existing materials and ideas, and taken an active, forward-looking position.
In 2013, the first public glimpses of this new way of working were revealed in the two works that Duffy included in our summer exhibition. The first, a piece in which viewers were encouraged to throw darts; the second, a series of prints that goaded viewers to steal the work off of the wall and exit the gallery immediately. Now it is Duffy himself who is taking action. He is shooting ammunition into, onto, and against the canvas so that the support of the painting becomes a surface of resistance. The result is a series of predominately monochromatic paintings, shot up with a range of guns: BB guns, pellet guns, and a shotgun.
In the studio, Duffy established rules and structures to govern the process of making the paintings. For some of the work the artist created custom metal armatures that directed and constrained the trajectory of the ammunition to specific vectors. For others he shot blobs of wet paint onto the canvas, creating grids of spidery paint splatters and drips. Many of the paintings are layered monochromatic canvases, made with oils and lacquer that have then been carefully shot. In all of the paintings, the impact of the ammunition on the canvas reflects the force of the action that is controlled by the artists strategy of aiming the bullets. The works reflect forceful action much more than violence, even when the canvas is thoroughly perforated by bullets.
Duffys canvases evoke the legacy of Lucio Fontana in their violation of the sacrosanct surface of the painting, but they also reference Niki de Saint Phalles Nouveau Raliste Shooting Paintings, made from 1960 1963. (Saint Phalle was a point of reference for Duffy during his education at UCSD, where Saint Phalles Sun God watches over the campus.) This body of work reflects Duffys desire to actively impact and engage with his materials and the oscillation between creation and destruction inherent in the creative act.