Duane Paul: Totems

I explore the themes of identity alienation, self-realization and shared and individual struggle. Much of my art is process driven and through the process of making, physically working and manipulating material. The physical process of making the work is as important as the “finished” piece. The nature of my process and practice is to build layers and layers creating sculptural records documenting exploration of a concern. Through the device of repetition, I create a symbolic language -a code- for establishing and solving the themes I am currently exploring. As a multi-medium artist, the methods of my exploration are varied: sculpture, painting, installation and photography, are used/useful modes to extrude and explore these themes. I continue to ruminate on the themes of desire, sex, sexuality, loss, decay, deterioration and ideas of the impermanent. My work, is concentrated on the fractured, fragmented memories of childhood, strong together and conflated by my adult/grow-up reflection. The work explores and plays with the structure, context, and symbolism and totems. The works are like totems, structures with a sense of stoic stillness, that serve as venerated communicative emblems of my experience with people, family, lovers, linage and my chosen kinships. Text, textures, fragmented images/photographic montages.
Like the linguistic usage of the ellipsis, the work is stripped and gapped. The process of physically doing is important. It’s about building up the surfaces metaphoric (memories and experiences). The process then is to tear through, and expose those layers to get the desired effect of damage/decay. The intent of the surface treatment is to evoke the wear and tear of living. Be it, human bodies, relationships, or the physical spaces we occupy. This process is about pushing the material to its natural limits and then a bit further as a part of creating these works. Titles are used to incite memory, remembrances of unfinished conversations, questions unanswered or lingering questions yet to be asked. This body of work emphasizes the history, beauty, significance and vibrancy of decay.
“A star shines most brightly as it dies”.