Duncan Wylie was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and currently lives and works in London.
Using gestural mark-making, colour, and composition, Wylie creates multi-layered paintings that convey a sense of chaos, urgency, and resilience. Represented through an exploding matrix, the thin, transparent layers of oil paint in Wylie’s work echo his fragile perception of ‘belonging’ — a consequence of having been subjected to the trauma and violence of losing one’s home.
In Self Construct (Zimbabwe undertones) (2017) we see the impressions of a figure walking along a railroad track. The figure appears to be struggling under the weight of debris — possibly planks of wood or sheets of metal commonly used in the construction of informal housing. In the background, one can see the contours of a wealthy home receding with the horizon. As the title suggests, this work draws our attention to the laboured processes of self-empowerment against the backdrop of displacement, inequality, and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. It is also a synthesis of marks and gestures, a vocabulary that the artist has developed through confronting these issues with paint.
Wylie’s most recent solo exhibition, Construct and (Various) Disasters of Democracy was held at Galerie Dukan in Leipzig (Germany: 2018). His work, Multiple realities (multiple horizons), Johannesburg/London (2016) is currently on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as part of the contemporary permanent collection exhibition A Global Stage (United Arab Emirates: 2018).
Duncan Wylie works are featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era (2018 – 2019).