John Duckworth’s works transcend the line between realism and abstraction. His photographs are infused with an intimate knowledge of nature, a passion for pure color, and a rhythm drawn from life itself. His trademark style involves abstracting the photographic image to lend the work a much lauded painterly appearance. By providing the viewer a sense of place, yet obscuring the details, he allows each individual to step into the image and bring forth their own visual history. The ensuing narrative is enriched through the power of memory, infusing a personal creative process with universal appeal.
Best described as paintings from a camera, John Duckworth’s Landscape Abstracts evoke the sea, forest, marsh, and sky in rich bands of saturated color. This body of work captures the essence and natural beauty of the region, where vibrant colors flow through the landscape as subtly as the southern seasons flow into each other. The humid summers bring brilliant green marshlands and graceful, fast-moving thunderstorms of purple and gray, while colder months deliver warmer, gentler tones and calm, serene sunsets. At every glance these photographs transport you through their colors - each image telling a unique story of the horizon through both aesthetic and process.
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The Linear Abstracts are an extension of the Landscape Abstract series with a focus on color, line, and movement. As is characteristic of John’s creative vision, the details within the photograph vanish and blur, simplifying the image to accentuate pureness of color and form. In this body of work, movement transitions to vertical as opposed to horizontal.
The Myopic series represents the continuation of John’s curiosity with focus and unfocus. Through his experimentation with soft-focus photogenic manipulation, the elements of color, tone, and shape shift towards abstraction. The result is an image where all reference to place is removed, leaving iridescent circles dancing in its place.
A complement to the Landscape Abstract series investigates the beauty and expanse of the coastal Carolina landscape. The result of stitching together ten to 20 different individual photographs, this body of work features an amazing level of detail, showcasing the beauty of the region in its full splendor. At up to 90 inches wide, the Panoramas command the peripheral vision, inviting the viewer to figuratively “step into” the scene.
The Spirari series is John’s most recent body of photography work. The images capture fire up close at high speed, which John then digitally alters to highlight the flame’s sensual form while abstracting the reference to its origin. An active attempt at grasping a deeper understanding and appreciation for change as a part of life, this series was born as a meditation on John’s evolving roles as a person, an artist, and a father. Spurred by a major life transition in 2007 and his subsequent move to Johns Island to live, work, and heal, the explorations shown in the Spirari series helped John to embrace the impermanence of his own emotions, thoughts, and physical being. It reflects his awakening to a new outlook on life - one acknowledging impermanence as the only constant.
Much like the Landscape Abstracts series reveals the essence of place, the Urban Journey series reveals the essence of a universal narrative - a narrative that the viewer, free from the confines of specificity, is invited to interpret through the lens of their own personal history. The panorama format references wide-screen cinema and further evokes the narrative quality of the image.