John Duff: Falk Visiting Artist

  • Sep 18, 2005 – Dec 11, 2005
John Duff, "Inclined Form II", 2004, steel rod and plaster, 30 x 37 x 34
in. Courtesy of the artist and Knoedler & Co. Gallery, New York.

John Duff first came into prominence in the late 1960s when his work was presented in the seminal exhibition of Post-Minimalist art, Anti-Illusion Materials/Procedure at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In his pioneering sculptures, which were shown alongside work by artists such as Eva Hesse, Carl Andre and Richard Tuttle, Duff advanced Minimalism's language of precise geometric forms by imbuing it with references to the more imprecise, tangible world. Over the past 30 years Duff has continued to navigate the terrain between geometric and organic form, bolstered by a bold investigation of new materials and an abiding interest in defining interior and exterior space.


Duff's exhibition at the Weatherspoon Art Museum includes recent sculpture and related works on paper. For the sculptures, Duff employs polyurethane, or plaster, and steel to conjoin and transpose geometric shapes one onto another. The works appear as three-dimensional drawings in space rooted to a solid, opaque form. The lines made by the steel rods create a sense of volume at the same time as they suggest emptiness; the “filled in” portions of the sculpture create a sense of weight at the same time as they suggest hollowness. In viewing works such as Equilateral Torus II and Inclined Form, we find our spatial perception of the sculpture remains constantly in flux as form and formlessness, substance and absence battle for predominance.

John Duff (b. 1943, Lafayette, Indiana) lives and works in New York. His extensive exhibition history includes solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe and group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Contemporary Art Museum, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.

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