Getting to Know Jack Dale and Duane Ditty

This evening at Rosalux, the opening reception for The Language of Silence will be taking place. Featured artists Jack Dale and Duane Ditty will be showing their work side by side in the Rosalux gallery, and we would like to invite you to join us! If you are unable to make it tonight, check this blog again later this week for photos of the reception, and come visit during any normal gallery hours. But first, take some time to get to know Jack and Duane.

Jack Dale (left) and Duane Ditty (right)

Jack Dale (left) and Duane Ditty (right)

1: Rosalux’s upcoming show is titled “The Language of Silence.” How do you feel your work relates to the show’s title?

Jack: Well actually my exhibition partner Duane Ditty came up with the title so you should really ask him this question as I have no clue.

Duane: My work is very toned down and tends to be dark and contemplative. It is not gestural or expressionistic and retains a quality of solitude. I am interested in distancing myself and my work from the imposing forces of commercial signification, from the things that attempt to undermine indeterminate meaning and time. I think my work offers a reprieve from cluttered spaces and relentless noise and action.

2: What has the experience of organizing this show been like for you?

J: Painting is what I enjoy. Organizing an exhibit is one of those necessary evils.

D: My last show was only three months ago. I’ve never had to produce a new show in such short time and so I had to narrow my perimeters. I found in the past I did not work well under pressure but interestingly, this time, once I stopped worrying about the pressure and increased my focus I had some interesting results in a short time. I also came up with some smaller paintings that are quite different from my usual work. I discovered, yet again, that limitations lead to variation. The challenge and rigor of preparing for this current exhibition was very informative for me.

"Address the Issue" Jack Dale 2013

Jack Dale, “Address the Issue”, 2013

3: How has being a Rosalux artist affected you and your artwork?

J: The association with accomplished artists is always a benefit, but my art hasn’t changed because of it.

D: I enjoy being a part of the group. Having this vehicle in which to present my art to the public is a great opportunity and being around other people’s ideas is always important. I have found many times in my life that a group situation works well for me.

4: At what point did you decide you were going to be an artist? Did you have an “ah-ha!” moment, or did you always know?

J: I was interested in art from an early age, and that interest grew after I could no longer make a living playing hockey.

D: I believe I can actually remember the first time I painted in school, or more precisely when my teacher had me stop so that someone else could take their turn. I wanted to paint more and it was frustrating to not be allowed to continue at that time.

When I was younger the only book in the house that had art in it was a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I frequently opened it to look at those few pages of art. When I was old enough I started taking trips to the Walker Art Center. My interest in art started early and built to the time I went to college on to the point where I made it the focus of my time.

Duane Ditty, "Terminal", 2013, oil on canvas, 76 x 58 in

Duane Ditty, “Terminal”, 2013, oil on canvas, 76 x 58 in

5: How did you come to the point you are currently at with your work? What things have influenced you on your artistic road? 

J: I guess it’s just a natural progression. Goals are attained by years of painting and studying other artists.

D: About 15 years ago I wanted to change the way I was working and change the type of painting I was doing. I spent a year then doing large drawings in my studio before returning to painting. That is when I started doing my large monochrome paintings which emphasize linear structure, and without a lot of deviation I have been working within this method ever since. I find that the process of doing the same thing over and over again leads to different results within an imposed boundary. Certainly this is not been without some sidetracks but this basic method is still very evident within this current exhibition.

6: What do you think was the most difficult period of your art career, and how did you deal with it? What about the best part?

J: I don’t relate to art in those terms. I always enjoy the act of creating.

D: There was a time during the 90s that I stopped painting, not sure of the importance of art. During that time I re-evaluated the role art played in my life and found that it was something I needed to do.

Jack Dale, "Delight", 2013

Jack Dale, “Delight”, 2013

7: Art’s existence depends on having an audience. Why do you think it is important for people to see and experience art?

J: Art is a high priority in my life but I can’t speak to what importance it should play in other people’s life.

D: I believe art is separate from day-to-day existence even if it refers directly to that existence. Art is a representation of thought without the necessity of some other explicit  function. Its importance is not equivalent to day-to-day life but I believe it is necessary.

Jack Dale, "Nothing is Black and White Anymore", 2013

Jack Dale, “Nothing is Black and White Anymore”, 2013

8: If someone who has never experienced an art exhibition before came to “The Language of Silence,” what suggestions might you make to them so that they could get the most out of their experience?

J:  I would tell them not to be influenced by what other people say about the work. They should allow themselves to see and feel what their breadth of experience dictates.

D: I would tell them to give less gravity to notions of emotion and beauty. Art exists within the context of ideas. It is not only important to see art but to understand the ideas that various art forms are built on.

9: Do you have any advice to young or aspiring artists?

J: Yes. I would tell them to never be afraid of ruining a painting. You need to take risks.

D: I would say take advantage of the opportunities that come your way when you’re young. This is probably the time that you are the most energetic and creative.

Duane Ditty, "Observance", 2013, oil on canvas, 78 x 62 in.

Duane Ditty, “Observance”, 2013, oil on canvas, 78 x 62 in

10: What might people expect to see from you in the future?

J: As I am an intuitive painter, what the future holds for my work is unpredictable.

D: I think it is important to make subtle changes in the working methods to provoke new images. Recently I have been trying to follow the structure that is coming out of the painting process rather than trying to impose a structure. The lines of my work are becoming more aggressive. Some of my new paintings have more of a sense of movement and thrust and are not as contemplative as my previous work. I’m feeling more anxious and less patient when I work.

Jack Dale, "Where Do We Go From Here?", 2013

Jack Dale, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, 2013