Fred Duignan Biography

Artist Statement


Always seeking an inroad to new sensory awareness through the act of painting by utilizing poetic symbolism or a belief in intuitive intelligence, my work has driven a personal quest for healing in line with primal impulses that were implanted in my childhood home where domestic violence led me to drive my fists into my eyes until all sound disappeared, leaving only color, movement and figurative dancing in the space that remained. A silent and endlessly deep world where fear no longer existed.  

In an attempt to confront an aspect of what Walter Robinson has named Zombie Formalism in painting, I  developed this conceptual piece that starts with simple geometric abstractions on 9 square canvases. I was further led by an inspiration to establish a primitive territorial space in alignment with my subconscious approach to form through paint spilling. As opposed to my most recent work titled Spills where I allowed paint primacy of voice, the series Dancing in the Square demanded that I initiate a spill process that tapped into an individual passion for figurative form while maintaining my collaborative methodology with materials. The figure acted as an antidote to what I feel is this recent formalist incarnation’s narcissism in the face of the human condition of ever expanding poverty as well as cataclysmic threats to global security both human and natural.

Abstraction is the greatest artistic innovation since the discovery of linear perspective. The belief in an ordered and absolute truth, however, is dismissed with each individual’s daily human experiences and the lessons of history. Art based on thought in conjunction with individual voice has given the world efficient and effective dehumanizing space that includes what Giacometti called cages, Halley called cells and became the cube where Bacon felt empowered to deconstruct the human form. Such space functions in today’s world as, among others, workstation cubicles, prison pods and social media formats.

With this exploration of formal space as backdrop, stage and playground, I have identified an opportunity to reverse, for myself, the dictum that says the artist is a pure scientist exploring the world of ideas not the senses. These new absolutes are spaces onto which I have imposed human experience in figurative and symbolic nature-based form open to individual interpretation.

In a world that diminishes nature, the extinction of its human inhabitants has been identified as inevitable. I reject the culling of humanity and embrace the truth of the inextricable connection of our species and the natural world. These pictures offer the viewer an opportunity to choose to accept the opportunity to face what is truly the unknowable: each day’s existence in cooperation with others and the environment, that includes the city grid, whether in connection with the general population or exclusive groups until death.

Out of the Head and Back into the Heart!

Fred Duignan CV