Zhivago Duncan's exhibition 'The Rare But Known Phenomenon' is now on view at Meem Gallery

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Zhivago Duncan's exhibition 'The Rare But Known Phenomenon' is now on view at Meem Gallery
Zhivago Duncan 1980 - PRESENT. Delta, 2024. Dye and rabbit skin glue on canvas 200 x 170 cm.

DUBAI.- Meem Gallery is now presenting THE RARE BUT KNOWN PHENOMENON by Zhivago Duncan. 'Painting serves as a profound mode of visual expression, encapsulating the essence of the world that surrounds me. Within this new collection, I have endeavored to distill the complexity of ideas and images into a meditative practice that mirrors the cycles of nature, whether it be the gentle unfolding of a sunrise, the fiery blaze of a sunset, or any other natural phenomenon typically devoid of philosophical interpretation. When human interaction interlaces with the act of creation, observers inevitably find themselves reflecting upon the underlying motivations. It is within this dynamic interplay that human empathy and ego emerge, emanating from a common core and guiding the viewer towards a perception of the external world as a reflection of the self.

In the current landscape of our world, characterized by pervasive confusion and a prevailing sense of complacency in personal and material achievements, I am compelled to recognize the interconnectedness of humanity as a collective entity. The individual, I realize, is not fundamentally distinct from the whole; rather, we are all integral components of the intricate tapestry of life on Earth. However, the human mind often becomes disconnected from this holistic perspective, thereby necessitating a deliberate return to a state of mindfulness and unity with our surroundings. It is with this intention that I have consciously eschewed the pursuit of profound existential truths and instead focus on the innate beauty found in simplicity.

Through my paintings, I aim to challenge the conventional understanding of color, asserting that its existence is not absolute but rather contingent upon perception. By stripping away extraneous layers of meaning, I seek to demonstrate that even the most ordinary elements of our existence possess a unique beauty when viewed through the lens of mindful awareness. These artworks are not burdened with predetermined narratives or agendas; rather, they invite the viewer to engage with them in the present moment, free from the constraints of preconceived notions or expectations.

Like a palate cleanser between sushi courses, these paintings serve to clear the cluttered recesses of the mind and realign one's focus on the present moment. Whether or not they succeed in this endeavor is inconsequential to me, as my commitment lies in the pursuit of my artistic philosophy and the cultivation of mindfulness in the here and now. With each brushstroke, I remain anchored in the present, embracing the transient beauty of this moment in time.

- Zhivago Duncan, Los Angeles 2024

Zhivago Duncan

Zhivago Duncan was born in Terre Haute, Indiana to a Syrian mother and a Danish father. His fluidity across materials and cultural signifiers reflects the relentlessness of an investigative mind. With freewheeling creativity spurred by his curiosity, Duncan’s lifelong impulse towards painting reflects his desire to contemplate, negotiate and comprehend the “big picture”: the origins of sentient life and the universality of consciousness. The artist locates his obsession with creation myths to 2011, when his family’s plans to visit their homeland for the first time were disrupted by the outbreak of the ongoing Syrian Civil War. Investigating the region from afar, Duncan became absorbed by historical accounts of life in the Fertile Crescent, as well as the mythologies that arose from its earliest civilizations – still relevant for their psychic potency today.

In 2007 Duncan received his BFA in painting from Chelsea College of art and Design London. His works are in the collections of the Perez Art Museum Miami, the Saatchi Collection London, the Barjeel Foundation Sharjah, the Olbricht Collection Berlin and various private collections worldwide.

Meem Gallery

Meem Gallery has been a leading international presence in the management and promotion of modern and contemporary Arab, North African and Iranian art since 2005.

February 24th, 2024 - May 25th, 2024

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