Series Seven

In this new series of paintings Duncan works with the idea of a ‘colour field’ where the viewer is immersed in the picture plane. There is often a faint reference back to the landscape and the sky although the work is very much about mood and atmosphere rather than a specific place.

‘If I had to identify references for the paintings the colours are often those that I have observed on walks along the river Lagan near where I live. I tend to work from memory and to replicate surfaces like weathered slate or wood stains on a wall, that type of thing. I use my memory to pull these things out of the landscape to sift out what’s worth remembering from all the things I see.’

In one painting the predominance of red came after looking through a telescope, that had been set up at Ballynoe Stone Circle in Downpatrick, at the eruptions on the surface of the sun. ‘In the painting with three strips of colour part of the inspiration came a piece of painted out graffiti. I started to get interested in the shapes that occur when this happens. At the moment I have also become interested in colours of the spectrum reflected in cut glass and the edges of mirrors. You can see that coming out in the dashes of colour along the edges of another painting.’

The painting process, is also an important part of the work, there is a degree of calculation balanced against spontaneity.  ‘I use intuition and chance, with the final format of the painting not decided until the end. This can involve major alterations as I go along. Its often hard to decide whether the final canvas should be horizontal or vertical and I can even end up turning it completely upside down. Sometimes it's a feeling I have that drives me to use a particular colour or it can be as simple as being excited about trying out a new paint. Sometimes the painting tells me what to do!’

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