Duke Windsor already has a reputation.
Over his multi-decade career in San Diego, most of which he’s worked out of his Mount Helix garage which he converted into an artist’s studio, Windsor has specialized in transfixing landscape paintings of local alleyways and city blocks. And while he could’ve easily stuck with these, he says he became intrigued by the type of marketing he saw from fast-food companies when it came to America’s favorite food: the hamburger.
“It’s why the series is called American Icon, because it’s about that love. Our love of burgers, of what we’ve eaten,” says the former marine. “It’s also about our quality of food versus what was eaten back then, and the commercialization of that food as well. It’s not necessarily a poke at that industry, but in a way, it’s tongue-in-cheek.”
Inspired by the Dutch masters whose paintings he used to walk by while working at the Timken and Mingei museums, Windsor uses acrylics and the classic technique of gold leaf gilding to create still lifes that are as accomplished as they are enticing. Many viewers were warned not to come hungry when he displayed the series at Duke Windsor: Nothing’s Impossible, a recent solo exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art. He’ll also be displaying some of them at Reverence, a solo show opening in October at Sparks Gallery in the Gaslamp.
“I always think of that movie with Michael Douglas [Falling Down] where he gets his burger and gets really upset about how it looks,” Windsor says. “It’s a poke at that. An artist’s job is to create a dialogue and really get in-depth of the meaning behind something. The concept of what we see, and what we really get.”