Seattle artist Justin Duffus’s narrative paintings delve into the strange underpinnings of human interactions. We are unsure who is doing what to whom. The paintings are both intimate and distant, personal and objective. Suited men interact mysteriously at a Maypole party. A baptism ritual on a young girl is carried out in a tiny pool of water. Humans are always present but loneliness creeps in from every corner. Regardless of the subject depicted, Duffus’s paintings elicit both alienation and emotional attachment.
“Duffus uses his collection of found photos to build gentle, surreal worlds, layering faded anonymous faces, inserting people into living rooms, picnic sites, vacant foyers, superimposing limbs and heads where they weren’t meant to be. The paintings are built of strata of paint and turpentine on canvas which are intermittently scraped and sanded in spots to excavate glimmers of pigment beneath.—Amanda Manitach (City Arts, Dec. 23, 2016)
Originally from Pasadena, Duffus studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and also at a Philadelphia atelier. His work is attracting national attention and he has been exhibited in numerous galleries across the country. In 2016, he was awarded City Arts artist of the year in their “Future List.”