Tree of Life: Drawings and Paintings

A Statement by Fidencio Duran

    These works represent the evolution of my work during the last twelve years.  The period began in bright optimism for the new millennium and was soon clouded by my mother’s suffering a debilitating stroke and the tragedy at the Twin Towers on 9/11.  My artistic response resulted in a projection of beauty in still life drawings  entitled Tree of Life. Since my wife worked for a plant company I was introduced to many lovely varieties.  These graphite and conté drawings on paper from 2001, 2008, and 2009 were a return to the basis of narrative acrylic paintings.  Working from plant specimens further informed the works and this approached extended into my figurative compositions like Child of the Land (2007) and Slingshots (2005).  My observations of nature have led me to portray birds, flora, and still life in metaphorical arrangements of our human need for shelter and community.  My use of a digital camera has further enhanced my use of live models to further develop my conceptual drawings. This approach informed the works like Winter’s Day (2009) and Slingshots I also cull images from the internet to build my library of visual references.

    After the demise of my parents five years ago, my works grew in a more celebratory manner.  The birdhouse series began from  memories of my father’s ability to fashion a useful object out of found materials and my mother’s green thumb and love of birds.  I started by including regional landscapes that later expanded to include views from travel photos.  I also started with regional birds from my backyard like mockingbirds, cardinals, sparrows, and wrens as in the work Las Mañanitas (2011)  and expanded my scope to include rarer species like painted buntings and trogons in the works such as Huichol Canyon (2012)  and Ladies’ Night Out (2013). These works that started during a period of loss and tragedy have transcended from  still lifes and narratives to celebrations of life and nature in the whimsical narratives of the birdhouse series.