Andrew van Wyk – A Profile

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He was born, 1963 in Windhoek, Namibia. He grew up on a farm and studied at the Out of School Training College, South Africa. He attended art classes at the Academy, Windhoek. He comes from a family of skilled craftsmen and he started painting and carving as a schoolboy. He also copied photographs and created souvenir paintings on leather. After completing an art course at the Academy, he earned a living in a print shop and could only paint in the evenings by artificial light. One of his best works, “African Rhythms” was created during many weeks of late night work. His name is Andrew Van Wyk. Van Wyk designs each form and pattern meticulously and accurately, almost painfully. In his paintings and graphic concepts no open spaces remain, no vague indications, no incomplete forms. He tackles one subject at a time, and then proceeds to combine and link forms to convey a message. People are his central theme. Faces are shown in profile and figures may be distorted, sometimes creating a naÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¯ve aspect and sometimes revealing the narrow boundary between reality and fantasy. Van Wyk’s love of detail is rooted in the tradition of African storytellers. Colour is Van Wyk’s main expressive tool and his paintings are his most important works although his narrative talent and sense of caricature are also evident in his linocuts and cardboard prints. His use of colours creates the unreal atmosphere and is the lyrical aspects of his oils, giving his realistic scenes a dream-like quality. With almost whimsical shades of colour, he succeeds at creating moods which imbue his best works with a mysterious double meaning. Van Wyk begins his painting projects with normal everyday occurrences: people in a meeting; an old man reviewing his life; then during the painting process, a transition to another level of perception takes place. Andrew van Wyk says: “I live in two worlds – one of reality and one of dreams. I have to combine the two.” In his best works, he arrives at a successful synthesis of recording communal life and his personal visions. The perfect balance between mood and content is evident in his paintings. The artist is the founder and head of the Rehoboth School of Arts.