Yellow Skylight (Winter-Summer 2014) / Direct sunlight and acrylic on fabric / 70 × 54 in
Chris Duncan is an Oakland-based artist who employs repetition and accumulation as a basis for experiments in visual and sound based media. Often in flux between maximal and minimal, Duncan's work is a constant balancing act of positive and negative, loud and quite, solitary and participatory and tends to lead towards questions regarding perception, experience and transcendence. Time's physical and psychological effect have become paramount in these experimental endeavors.
Duncan’s most recent body of work is reliant on the passing of time and long term effects of sun exposure to fabric. Works are created in the artists' bedroom windows, warehouse skylights, constructed forms, symbolic objects and architectural elements on rooftops in Oakland, California, as well as other locations. Manufactured colored fabric is placed in these locales and without the use of dye, emulsion or any purposefully manipulated chemical process, imagery emerges through time (generally 6 months) and ultraviolet exposure. At once an homage to the power of the sun, the works also provide a haunting intimacy and an effect that blurs the conversations of painting and photography. With society being neck deep in the information age and reliant (if not addicted) to the immediacy of social media, the concept of time takes precedence. The works become mile markers and are made by honoring the passing of time, not the acceleration of it.
After a decade of functioning primarily as a visual artist, recent years have found Duncan applying learned behaviors in image making to sound works. The open ended, often improvised, compositions are a sonic equivalent to his paintings- slowly built atmospheres that are the accumulation of simple gestures, looped and layered to the point of transcendence. Duncan pairs processed field recordings of natural phenomena such as the wind or the ocean with the use of his own breath via harmonicas and tonal, percussive elements of tuning forks. Duncan has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally at galleries, project spaces, living rooms and museums.
Outside of his studio practice, Duncan runs a small press and project space with his wife called LAND AND SEA.