Cynthia Duff’s sculpted wooden canvases embody the contemporary side of Colorado. Each piece undulates with a perfect combination of form, color, and composition. Hailing from Grand Junction, Colorado, Duff’s work literally pops off of the wall.
Working with wood seemed to come by accident for Duff. Years ago, she was invited to display her work in a show titled “Bent.” Duff searched far and wide for a manufacturer or a DIY method to bend canvas into a rounded form. Without the means to manipulate canvas in such a manner, she turned to wood. Today, she has gained worldwide acclaim for creating a series of work that is entirely her own.
Duff’s work begins with picking a flat piece of birch wood. She carefully mixes a combination of acrylics and wood stains to both add color to the piece and enhance the beautiful wood grains that are already inherent in it. Fracturing, a technique she developed to highlight the intricacy of her work, allows for color blocking to come in swirling, seemingly dancing, patterns. In her landscapes, the technique allows her to present different parts of the day within the same painting by slicing the composition into sections. In her abstracts, the colors contrast and blend beautifully throughout the piece. Duff’s use of layered gold leaf provides an elegant and stunning shine to the top layers of the painting.
While most artists would be content to stop here, Duff’s work is only part done. She hand shapes each piece of painted wood into perfectly rounded curves. As viewer’s walk past her work, different parts of the painting appear. Looking at each piece changes dramatically depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The curves mimic the shape of the tree trunk upon which she has painted, breathing life back into the tree. With Colorado being such an outdoorsy state, the wooden canvases speak to the natural beauty of her home.
“I start my work with this raw magnificent inspiration. I visualize it... I become one with it. I use music, color, subject, shape, and line to help me orchestrate my art. Once the work has started it follows a journey of its own. My inner self must be allowed to flow and create. I am often amazed at the results."