Duke Windsor: “Reverence”


October 16, 2022

On View Through:

December 30, 2022

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Duke Windsor’s success as a contemporary artist lies in his ability to infuse ordinary subject matter with his own ingenuity. Windsor’s wealth of occupations and personal drive have shaped the foundation of his creative spirit. Through observation of the traditional American Way, Windsor finds his most powerful subject matter. The gold in his contemporary icons elicit consideration for reverence, love, compassion, and courage in our world.

Thoughts on “reverence” from the mind of Duke Windsor:

Reverence is an attitude by which one responds to reality as a whole. It is more than the typical religious gestalt of revering a religious ideology, saintly being, or holy relic. Reverence goes way beyond that. It is a sacred emotion that flows through everything in our existence as spiritual beings. In this way of thinking and seeing, Reverence is the appropriate term to define an artist’s visual memes to produce a work of art.  Philosopher Alice Von Hilderbrand considered Reverence the “mother of all virtues.”  

In Reverence, one sees all things in life as beautiful. I believe that this is where my desire to paint ordinary subjects manifests itself, on a deeper level than just seeing the ugliness and the mundane. I am constantly asked about the subject matter I paint. I think about the question, and in my mind, I say, ‘Why not?’    

When I see a typical trash bin on the street, I see a story, a purpose for its existence. Painting a historical location much older than I have been alive is awe-inspiring. The ubiquitous burger, the fearless rodeo cowboy, the baseball player, the heroic soldier, the construction worker, and the ever-present road crew all should be revered for what they represent. 

Gold leaf is the color of extravagance, wealth, riches, and excess which exerts a hypnotic attraction and evokes a very celestial, reverent feeling towards the serenity of the subject.

I was inspired to utilize gold leaf after seeing the biopic film, Klimt. In the movie, Klimt (John Malkovich) is working on the “Adele Bloch-Bauer” portrait, and in the scene, he was applying gold leaf to the painting. Later, while visiting the Timken Museum in Balboa Park, I viewed the collection of Russian Icons on wood panels.  The reverence and visceral experience I felt from the luminance of these traditional Icon works inspired me to recreate this feeling in my work.   As I continue to develop gilding techniques, I often refer back to these works for inspiration. 

The painters of nature all revere the world through their work. I feel this honor also can be in a typical still life of simple objects that mean something and hold a place of reverence. It has been said that we must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.  In the Reverence exhibition, I explore the things I hold in awe, experiences I have had, and visions from an artist’s mind. What do you hold in Reverence? 

Windsor’s works will be on view at Sparks Gallery from October 16 to December 30, 2022 with an opening reception on Sunday, October 16, 2022 from 11am – 2pm.

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