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About Duane

I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, grew up in California, and have lived in New York City and Florence, Italy. My early influences were a high school art teacher, my mentor, named Robert Worthington, and Vincent Van Gogh. Both opened the door for me to see the creative life as a thread to the many domains that link achievement to humanity and the spiritual. Creating and experiencing art is crucial to developing cognitive and emotional, whole-brain, and whole human, capacity. As a studio painter I... more


My father, a Marine Corps fighter pilot, instilled in me a love of flying. I hold a current, FAA pilot license, am co-owner of a Piper Archer II, and have logged 500 hours. Painting and aviation are both portals into the zone. Both provide those moments when you loose track of time, you become fully engrossed in the act, and all you want is to be there all the time.


Portraiture is the architecture of painting: everything has to be correct. You cannot fake a portrait, if the nose is wrong, it’s wrong. Portraiture embraces the paradox of linking the definitive to the indefinable, the rational to the emotional. It is the synthesis of opposites that are embedded in the soul. When Gertrude Stein first saw her 1906 portrait that Picasso painted she remarked that it didn’t look like her. Picasso replied: it will.


The question: how to address the figure, the nude, in the early 21st Century? It remains an on-going dilemma for me, hence a number of unfinished work over the course of a decade.

Heavy Vehicles

The tradition of narrative in art is fundamentally linked to the meaning-making capacity of the brain. Corot painted women in landscape as a metaphor: woman is landscape. Our humanity is measurement, the scope and scale of our understanding. Painting is the messy business of working, refining, destroying, and rediscovering, in layers of media, the depth of meaning that constructive understanding facilitates to create context and personal narratives.

I love painting the forms and rhythms of huge tires caked in dirt. After all, it is about the paint and the transformative power of something hand-made. If I can fold that tractor into landscape, and structure a light that makes it visible, then perhaps I too can lay the claim: tractor is landscape.


My foray into landscape began with construction imagery. Dirt - I had much hesitation about painting dirt. So many hues of brown, so many layers into the crust: I decided to face my fears and tackle it at the source.

Construction is a form of earth art, and coupled with engineering, becomes so much more than blight. On site the smell alone of so much organic matter ripped open and reformed is overwhelming at times. Dirt. It forced me into layering, thin on thick and thick over thin - no rules, just dirt.

Juxtaposing machinery on the landscape provided focus to the light as well as scale to the composition. Creating the foil of a lone tree or telephone pole forced me to look around and see, as well as sub-divide the composition. Construction imagery taught me painting and opened my eyes into looking.


I paint the American landscape of the highway, industry, and the unassuming imagery we generally turn a blind eye to. My motif is the amalgamation of the hardware and paraphernalia, left in the wake of development, on the American landscape.

I paint the product of progress: the highway littered with strip malls, construction reshaping the environment, and the city left abandoned by the monoliths and dinosaurs of industry.

The light on a truck in a lot, the rhythm of the Jersey barricade on the roadway, and the stamp of industry modifying an ecosystem, all inform my aesthetic choices. Success comes when the work asserts the reciprocal relationship man has to his environment. Asphalt, steel, and traffic are not in landscape, they are landscape.


The highway is etched into the collective conscious of the American culture. We may love our cars, but the road is, alternately, the venue for journey and the drudgery through a daily commute. Time spent on the road can be a distraction, a nuisance, or a window onto our sense of place in the landscape.

Even when most banal, the rhythm of movement through time and space creates drama. The highway provides an opportunity to paint the seen and the unnoticed, to conjure attention to the world we see every day and rarely look at.


It remains the duty and right of the creative type to challenge anything that passes for a cultural norm or a conventional wisdom. The moment "you are supposed to do it, or not" seems to me an invitation to try - if for no other reason than to see for oneself. Painting in the great tradition remains worthy of critical discourse but seems to have been marginalized by the mainstream, art-world media. Regardless, one must find one’s own voice.
The study of art history bares witness to countless art world movements and schools that popularly reflected the cultural zeitgeist of an epoch but bore little fruit or contribution to the advancement of philosophical awareness. The Mannerist Movement of 16th Century Italy or the Salon of the Academy of 19th Century France come to mind. It is remarkable that the independent thinkers of those same periods gave birth to the realism of chiaroscuro and the light and movement of impressionism, respectively.
Painting is a process of renewal, of seeing with one’s own eyes. When it succeeds, you’ve managed to invite the audience into an intimate event where they too experience seeing something fresh, as if for the first time.
I take great comfort in knowing that landscape painting is a link to art that rides a rail back thousands of years and that still resonates as a vehicle for developing a vision and truly seeing for oneself.

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Duane's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.