Duane Ditty


I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1955 and grew up on the city’s north side, circled by an expansive network of parks as well as old buildings, industrial sites and steel bridges along the Mississippi river. The scale and richness of the city can be seen in my large abstract paintings, and though I have travelled throughout America and Europe, I returned to Minneapolis in 1991 and still make my home here today.

I attended graduate school at The University of Wisconsin in Madison and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1984, living and working in Madison for a period of ten years. The paintings I made during that period were lost in a warehouse fire in 1995. This experience made me realize that though the paintings themselves were of great importance, they were the objects of the artistic activity, and it is this live time activity in all its aspects which remains of an even greater importance.

In 1996 I moved into my present studio in Northeast Minneapolis, at the Northrup King Building, surrounded by warehouses, railroad tracks and the nearby bridges crossing the Mississippi. This location provides me, as an artist interested in industrial scale, with rich source material for my work. I spent my first year there making large graphite drawings. These drawings laid the groundwork for the paintings I have executed since, which have a strong linear structure and a quality of drawing with the brush. Drawing continues to be an important exercise and inspiration for my paintings.

My paintings are large scale and contemplative in nature. I see painting as a very physical act and I work on a human scale in large canvasses. During the painting process I repeatedly lay out a linear understructure, working with controlled yet painterly layers which emphasize the surface of the canvas. My method of working and reworking the surfaces develops spatial depth and a visible sense of process. I use the act of painting as a way of searching for an image; an image which is contemplative, yet maintains a strong physical presence. My finished paintings manifest architectonic form while maintaining openness, fluidity, and light; though rigorous, they are also sensual.