Relating to his paintings at the time Stephan Dowsing was commissioned in 1993 to write the following:
The dictum ‘Less is more’ seems particularly relevant when we consider Duffy’s work. There is a sense of control and balance. A feeling of rightness, a knowledge that the artist has put in only those elements that are necessary, avoiding the irrelevant. There is a stillness, a quietude, a sense of ‘spiritual’ calm. But there is also abundant energy here, not a macho expressionistic display. What we have is a sense of restrained, callisthenic tension, a wish being made, a breath being taken.
It is difficult to assess or measure work of this nature, it is not science or political comment. We recognise it as a presence running from us, leaving a shadow in the piazza of DeChirico. This is a space for us to ‘be’, but the space that we have entered is larger than our understanding. It suggests a language of the future, of a time when we might have abandoned the charade of attempting to describe such works in words, words that in comparison are so pedestrian. The paintings, like music, cannot be explained and it seems only natural that one of Duffy’s works was recently used as an illustration for a collection of Chopin piano concertos, one of which Chopin, himself, described as “Giving the impression of gazing at place which brings to mind a thousand memories”. This could equally serve as a description of Duffy’s paintings.
Sometimes when the work seems to be at its most sombre, the pathos is undercut by a profoundly moving playful gesture that can only serve to reveal the wholeness of the work it embodies. There is evidence of a free spirit at work here, we could almost be reminded of Miro or Arp with the artists endless search for freedom, personal liberty and spiritual development. Each painting is a situation in which we may find ourselves. As in life it seems that in any one of these given situations there are many more elements working upon us that we can ever be aware of but through the delicate combination of shape, line, colour and form we are able to experience the power of an emotional, physical and intellectual charge. After numerous successful exhibitions, and inclusion in many fine collections, we arrive at appoint where we can observe an artist working at the peak of his abilities, We can sense the consolidation of skills, craft and a belief in the simplicity of a direct approach.
In a moments knowledge of truth,
the hand moves,
the mark is made,
the die is cast,
the event fixed.