10 September - 19 October 2003


Detail of 'To Travel in Full Possibility', 2001, oils on polished board, 46cm x 37cm

Terry Duffy has earned a reputation for pushing accepted boundaries within the medium of paint. He has mastered a unique technique deploying a highly polished and sheer hot-pressed board, which enables him to slide paint across the surface, making and partially erasing marks and letting the reflective qualities shine through. The result is a mysterious but palpable space of mobilised forms that we can mentally move within. The paintings appear paradoxically, to be possessed of a strange stillness and yet also perpetual motion.

There is a sense of refined control and balance here, beyond the surface mark-making of macho expressionism. At a time when shock tactics fuel the art industry, Duffy reminds us of the simple evocative power of minimalist abstraction, celebrating the mediums capacity to awaken our emotional, intellectual and physical senses.

It is difficult to describe the sensation that these works provoke; like music, the works evade reference to particular places or situations and the onus is on the viewer to respond in their own personal way. We may trace in the works the artist’s love of wild rugged landscapes and open spaces. We might identify a synergy with the poetry of R.S.Thomas, who wandered the hills of Wales seeking inspiration. We might detect the shamanism of Beuys, the serious play and experiment of Cage, both of whom Duffy has worked with. However, we could never be certain of the place described in each individual work. Instead each painting is a situation in which we may find ourselves an emotional, physical and intellectual charge.   

TERRY DUFFY studied at Liverpool College of Art and first gained recognition in the mid 70’s when he exhibited in New Contemporaries and followed this with shows in avant-garde galleries of the time, Acme and Air. His work was highly revered by the press and media leading to in depth reviews with BBC World News promoting the avant-garde nature of British Art then. By the mid 80s he featured in cult TV shows such as ‘The Tube’. Numerous successful exhibitions followed in this country and abroad, including solo exhibitions in New York. In 1992 he was appointed the British Council Visiting Professor of Fine Art at the Budapest Academy of Fine Art. His paintings are included in many collections worldwide.



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