Duane Zaloudek


In the 1960s, I became interested in exploring the phenomenological aspects of vision through an investigation of form, light and color. I was particularly concerned with ideas relating to sensory inhibition and the implications such ideas hold for the technology of painting and the spectator-object relationship. A group of works evolved from this concern, with the intention of making painting an exclusively physical-visual experience and moving more completely away from formal problem-solving and toward a self-conscious awareness of the physicality of seeing.

By progressively reducing the contrast of value and color, my goal since then has been to intensify an awareness of being on the part of the viewer through an intense encounter with carefully reduced stimuli.

In 1980 I encountered a problem with my vision and, unable to work close up, I decided to make some three-dimensional work. Having earlier begun playing and singing with a local country band, the idea occurred to me to make watercolor paper cowboy hats. I continued making the hats through 1982 even though my vision problem had been resolved earlier and I had returned to my primary work. These hats were shown at the Helmhaus Museum in Zurich, Switzerland in an exhibition whose theme was things artists make when they are not focused on their primary work.