Arthur Durkee

World Citizen & Global Nomad
currently based in southern Wisconsin

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Has lived in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wyoming, California, central Java in Indonesia, and southern India. Has traveled across North America, Europe, and Asia. Has studied classical and experimental music, jazz, ethnomusicology, anthropology and folklore, world music, fine art, poetry, geology, and more.

An eclectic artist who works in several creative media and has created several distinct and related bodies of work.

 


 

Arthur Durkee's Resumés & Sample Sheets

For download and printing in PDF format:


Artist's Biography

Artist's Statement

Graphic Arts & Design Resumé

Music Performance Resumé

Teaching Experience

Community Radiobroadcast Experience

Teaching Class Proposals

Logo & Illustration Sample Sheets

A Photoshop Lesson (sample teaching materials)

 


 




Why keep a record of previous artist's statements?

I resist the fashionable postmodernist idea that art has no history, no evolution, as though it existed without context or placement in either the artist's spacetime, or the culture's. As though was only ever itself, self-contained and self-generating. As an artist who works in multiple media, I find the ideology of context-free art-making as naive. The more I learn about what I do, about the arts I practice, and about my own creative process, the less interested I become in contemporary fashions and the more rooted I feel in art history and context. So, for whatever little it's worth, here are snapshots of successive momentary attempts at self-definition.



Artist's Statement 2011

My artwork has been described as shamanic, visionary, archetypal, transformative, and mythopoetic. It has won national, regional, and local awards, appeared in galleries and exhibitions, and has been published nationwide. I work in music, photography, video, landscape art sculpture, paper arts, collage, poetry and essay. I often make art from what I find lying at hand. I appreciate archaic technologies and processes that endure, exemplified by my collection of vintage typewriters; and I regularly work on the leading edge of new digital media technologies.

I am interested in the transpersonal, numinous and liminal rather than the time-bound, ego-driven, ironic and cynical “personal expression” that has dominated art in recent decades. The Universe is a mysterious, beautiful place—in many ways, my art simply narrates what I have witnessed.

My visual artwork often begins in what I call “camera walks,” a practice of seeing what is actually present, without expectation or pre-planning, process-oriented rather than goal-oriented. On a typical camera walk, I may make only one image, or several dozen. I rarely take more than one photo of what presents itself in each moment, however. Experience has shown that the process does not require making a hundred photographs to capture a single good image, as so many photographers do, but that one or two frames are often enough.

 


 

Artist's Statement 2008

My artwork has been described as shamanic, visionary, archetypal, transformative, and mythopoetic. It has won national, regional, and local awards, appeared in galleries and exhibitions, and has been published nationwide. I work in photography, multimedia cinema, collage, landscape art sculpture, original music, and poetry and essay. I often make art from what I find lying at hand. I appreciate archaic technologies and processes that resonate across time and space; simultaneously, I work on the leading edge of digital new media technologies.

 


 

Artist's Statement 2006

My artwork has been described as shamanic, visionary, archetypal, transformative, spiritual, and mythopoetic. I work with photography, digital art, typography, landscape and site-specific art, hand-made paper and books, printmaking, poetry, music, musical instrument building and design, junkmusic (homemade and found sound), and web-based new media. I have also worked with acrylic paints, fabric (including quilting), found assemblages, pottery, natural materials, jewelry, woodwork, stonework, metal, chandlery, and other media, singly or in combination. I am attracted to archaic technologies and processes that resonate across time; the works I make with them exist both in the past and the future. I can locate as influences, in terms of approach and craft if not content: Robert Rauschenberg, Jerry Uelsmann, Andy Goldsworthy, Susan Seddon Boulet. I have a restless imagination, and often make art of what I find lying at hand. Bits and pieces gathered here often end up incorporated over there. I prefer to develop flexibility, diversity, open-minded exploration and adaptability, over strict dedication to any single medium.



 


 


 

Artist's Statement 2005

My artwork has been described as shamanic, visionary, archetypal, transformative, spiritual, and mythopoetic. I work with photography, digital art, typography, landscape and site-specific art, hand-made paper and books, printmaking, poetry, music, musical instrument building and design, junkmusic (homemade and found sound), and web-based new media. I have also worked with acrylic paints, fabric (including quilting), found assemblages, pottery, natural materials, jewelry, woodwork, stonework, metal, chandlery, and other media, singly or in combination. I am attracted to archaic technologies and processes that resonate across time; the works I make with them exist both in the past and the future. I can locate as influences, in terms of approach and craft if not content: Robert Rauschenberg, Jerry Uelsmann, Andy Goldsworthy, Susan Seddon Boulet. I have a restless imagination, and often make art of what I find lying at hand. Bits and pieces gathered here often end up incorporated over there. I prefer to develop flexibility, diversity, open-minded exploration and adaptability, over strict dedication to any single medium.

I have a broad-ranging and well-read background in design, visual art, art history, typography, the history of technology and engineering, poetry, music (performance, musicology, ethnomusicology, history), and cultural studies such as folklore and anthropology. I have experience in teaching, training, tutoring, and in research and consulting, for all of the above.


 

2004 Artist's Statement

Arthur Durkee is an experienced book designer, illustrator, photographer, graphic designer, typographer, font designer and digital artist. He is also an award-winning composer, an accomplished musician with several recordings available, a published poet and essayist, interviewer, and community radio host.

Most of the artwork samples on this portfolio website date from 1998 to the present, although the Fine Art section contains work ranging from 1994 to the present day. New artwork is added as completed, and the site is updated regularly.


Fresh Thoughts, 2004


I have become aware, as I gather images for the ongoing matrix-collage series, how much an important role chance plays in my creatrive work. I was always drawn to aleatoric music, in which some elements of performance and composition are chance-derived, but I see that I also rely on chance in my artwork. The fortuitous accident. The techniques and styles discovered through play. The random gathering of digital photos by shooting without looking through the viewfinder, in all times and places. (Even easier now with the advent of small digital cameras.) The selection process based on the random choices of images made, during the collage assembly process. The experimental approach. Let's what happens if we do this.

Spirit lies at the center of the practice. It is about trust, but it's also about risk and trusting those pre-concious elements of self to step forward and be heard. The art of improvisation in life and in art requires one to let go of the illusion that one ever has complete control.

I find this statement by C.G. Jung, the founder of depth psychology and the coiner of words such as archetype and synchronicity—words which have now entered the collective consciousness—to be personally resonant and prophetic: Really—I don't know what the meaning or purpose of life is. But it looks exactly as if something were meant by it. —C.G. Jung




 

2002 Artist's Statement

My digital fine art, which is based on the foundation of my original photography, takes elements from natural and human-created worlds and combines them in new and unexpected ways. Objects, creatures and landscapes are layered, merged, blended and contrasted to entice the viewer into seeing the world with fresh eyes. This artwork has been described as visionary, transcendant, archetypal, and mythopoetic.

I strive to locate spirit or soul in the landscape, both in the sense of genius loci (the soul-of-a-place) and in humankind's relationship to the natural/human-made world. Humanity is not separate from nature, but neither can nature reach its full potential without the partnership of consciousness to transcend its pure physicality, and become Spirit. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere, and Jose Arguelle's activated global psi-bank are both formulations of this idea.) Spirit is both immanent and transcendant, rooted in the fibre of the Universe and yet mysteriously transforming it. I often become fascinated with the geography, history and geology of specific places towards which I feel drawn. These include the Wisconsin and northern Minnesota landscapes; the shores of the Great Lakes; the Rocky Mountain states of New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and eastern Oregon; the Basin & Range of Utah and Nevada; the cities and royal courts of central Java, Indonesia; and the agricultural landscape of rural Holland.

The working method I have developed for creating digital art involves making both color and black & white film photographs, then scanning them into the computer where they are manipulated at high resolution. I also work directly with digital photography. Objects are also placed directly upon the scanner, and used as elements in pieces. Planned sessions are undertaken, where a piece is developed to express a specific meaning, but I also leave room for fortuitous accidents that occur while improvising with the camera and later at the computer.

As artistic touchstones, I am able to cite photographers Jerry Uelsmann, Duane Michals, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Siegfried Halus; artists Piet Mondrian, M.C. Escher, Robert Rauschenberg, Henri Matisse and Mark Rothko; and classical Japanese printmakers such as Hokusai and Hiroshige.

Recent work includes a series of nude portraits in rivers and waterfalls, a series of posters and broadsheets combining images and typography, and an ongoing series exploring The Western Lands as both representative and expressionistic landscape. I am also pursuing work that will eventually be published as an illustrated deck of oracle cards, entitled Spiral Dance.

 








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