For Arts Sake New Exhibition - John Duffin

Friday 3rd – Sunday 26th November

John Duffin Hoover Building

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For Arts Sake is delighted to welcome painter-printmaker John Duffin back this winter for his second major solo exhibition with the gallery.

In ‘City Noir – Vanishing Points’, striking oil paintings and etchings draw inspiration from the dramatic tones and moods of Film Noir to throw 21st century urban landscapes into bold relief.

On show will be new works featuring London landmarks including Borough Market, King’s Cross St Pancras, Bar Italia, Park Royal Underground and the Hoover building

Citing the latter as a favourite, he says: “It has long lingered at the edges of my Art Deco perception of the city and I’ve finally been pushed into making work about it by [For Arts Sake director] Brian Davis. I see it as a lost ocean liner landlocked in the suburbs, a beautiful piece of the 20th century shivering in the London dusk.”

Fascinated by cinematography, film stills, edits and camera angles since childhood, Duffin recalls a love for black and white films on his parent’s television set and the growing appeal of Film Noir: “It seemed to take all of the elements of image-making and stretch them further. Camera angles were wider, lighting was starker, and soft and hard focus were extreme - it was also contemporary and showed an exaggerated version of the actual world outside.”

Using experimental, often giddy, vantage points Duffin’s pieces see his figures subsumed by the energy and scale of urban life. Yet at the same time their small stories are writ large, as if for the silver screen.

 “I am drawn to acute angles and horizon lines, always subconsciously tracking the literal vanishing points of buildings, roads and planes in my images,” he says.

“The title ‘Vanishing Points’ also conjures the disappearance and submersion of the figures in the architecture and spaces in the city. They are in some way literally vanishing into the energy, shape and mass of the organic cityscape around them. It’s an artistic description of a physical effect in the work and also a metaphor for the lives of the figures depicted.”

A former naval architect, Duffin is a graduate of Goldsmiths and Central St Martins, a peer of the YBAs and a student of Michael Craig-Martin.

Of Goldsmiths he recalls: “It was very exciting and competitive, everyone was utterly serious and committed about their work and everyone learned from one another in techniques and ideas. I studied and taught at many other London art colleges later but never saw anything as powerful in spirit and adventure as Goldsmiths at that time in the mid-80s.”

He adds: “I was deeply encouraged by Michael Craig-Martin, who looked at my first three etchings and pronounced ‘You've found yourself, your voice is in those lines and marks - do some more!’”

A member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers since 1991, Duffin’s works are held in a great many public and private collections including those of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Museum of London and the University of the Arts.

The exhibition is free to enter with all works available to buy

020 8579 6365 /

45 Bond Street, Ealing, London W5 5AS


1st November 2017

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