Duke Beardsley | Unbridled Obstruction: Impromptu Sublimations From The Lost Trail to Nowhere: Artist Reception: Thursday, February 20, 7-9pm

17 - 29 February 2020 Scottsdale

Solo Exhibition | Scottsdale, AZ

Altamira FIne Art Scottsdale is pleased to present a new solo exhibition for Denver-based artist Duke Beardsley, February 17-29, 2020.


Join us for an Artist Reception Thursday, February 20, from 7-9pm at our Scottsdale gallery.


Harnessing the end of a decade presents an opportunity for reflection. Duke Beardsley recently examined his 10-year trajectory and recognized key currents in his paintings: his enduring interest in resituating Western iconography within contemporary terrain; the inspiration of abstraction and Abstract Expressionism. But he also noticed an unsettling trend toward perfection, or the perception thereof. So, he decided to do something drastic and derail himself. “I’m getting in the way of what my paintings have been becoming. I’m obstructing them,” he says. “I’m not letting them be this perfect thing if that’s what they’ve been. I’m breaking them apart with color, texture and bad treatment to see what they do and don’t do when you block their traditional path.” 


These Obstruccións, as the artist calls them, encourage even more subjective readings than his previous paintings. Having distilled Western vernacular down to its most essential elements, Beardsley is now fracturing even the outline of form. The pop cowboys of his past, toiling headlong into the future, have suddenly become suspended in a layered present, their presence itself textured and tattered. Following his same braided process, he now stops himself midstream, adding hints of background, roughing the surface. 


One tile piece, shown yet unsold, had never sat right with Beardsley, so he tested his new technique, attacking it with denatured alcohol, razor blades and sanders. Suddenly, a new personality emerged and the piece came into itself. “I’m pushing this icon further and further away from traditional Western landscape. I’m letting the cowboys and cowgirls run off on their own.”


Some viewers might see a more painterly technique in this new series, rich with materiality. The philosophically bent will connect with the intellectual shift toward narrative abstraction. As always, Beardsley steers clear of revisionist history or the glorification of violence; his iconographic distillations are rooted in people, not postures. 


No matter the lens, Beardsley hopes viewers see the work itself, free of his intent. “One of my goals has always been for me to get out of the way; for the viewer to have their own relationship and dialogue with the paintings.” 


More than anything, the Obstruccións have underscored the resiliency of Western iconography: “It can certainly handle everything I’m throwing at it.” Adverse to grandeur, he pins his current intervention inside the tight scope he has set for himself. “I’m not trying to turn the whole Western paradigm on its head—just mine.”

Presales available.


More images coming soon.


Contact the gallery for more details, az@altamiraart.com/480-949-156.