If you discover Kari Duke skulking down your alley or peering over your backyard fence,don't jump to conclusions. She's not snooping, she's researching. "I just adore my alleys and the shadows, the play of light you get there," says the Edmonton-based painter of her deeply humble and memory-evoking subject matter. I've had so many great experiences painting and talking over the fences. There's nothing fake about back alleys. There's one lady at the corner of the street who has such lovely sunflowers and one of the last clotheslines in the neighbourhood. She went out of her way to put out pink frilly PJs on the line for me to paint and made me coffee. Stuff like that happens all the time.
Duke's water-soluble oil paintings on board typically depict the alleyways and backyards of the old-school McKernan, Parkallen and Belgravia neighbourhoods on Edmonton's southside. I paint what I see when I go for my walks and I paint as if I don't have my glasses on, going for a lot of emotion rather than detail. It's about colour and shapes which also include negative shapes and negative spaces. - Gilbert A. Bouchard