Artist invites audiences to discover her long journey

Artist invites audiences to discover her long journey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Artist invites audiences to discover her long journey

Kufic. The works are a continuation of Gürbüz’s mysterious, magical world that she displayed in previous exhibitions.

Selma Gürbüz’s one-person exhibition at Rampa, “Long Night. Faraway Voyages.,” provides a chance for audiences to sample the visual mythologies of Gürbüz’s extensive art practice.

On from Jan. 5 to Feb. 9, the exhibition is composed of Gürbüz’s paintings, drawings and sculptures completed between 2011 and 2012.

The works are a continuation of Gürbüz’s mysterious, magical world that she displayed in previous exhibitions. In these large-scale paintings and sculptures, Gürbüz gives voice to the images she has compiled from both real and dream voyages: The human figures are accompanied by animals and plants, and inspiration from ancient Egyptian art, Chinese and Japanese painting traditions, Diego Velazquez, Claude Monet, Islamic miniatures and manuscripts can be traced in the works.

“My works have touches of classical Ottoman art. I like to look at the West from the East. I look at the West with the eye of an Eastern artist,” said Gürbüz. That connection leads her to incorporate Chinese and Japanese art in her work. Ottoman miniature art is another interest for Gürbüz.

Gürbüz likes to include the relationship between Iranian miniatures and Turkish miniatures in her works. “My current exhibition is a result of the journey that I started with this perspective.”

Gürbüz has said she is in a nature-focused period. “I see every detail of nature, and I started to watch nature very closely. This has become a biological era for me.”

Animals, flora, plants, flowers, trees and insects are all a part of Gürbüz’s works. The works prompt the audience to discover unknown species or plants that they were never aware of.

Gürbüz likes to work in large dimensions, but on the other hand, she also likes to incorporate small details in her paintings.

Gürbüz’s stories

Gürbüz’s stories vary, as she leaves the story to the audience. According to her, it is crucial that members of the audience create their own stories for the artworks.

Gürbüz’s art is about images; these images are not purely painted, but are rather enriched by poetry, fairy tales and parables. Each painting has its own story; they are not born from stories, but rather have formed their own unique tales. As has been pointed out about Gürbüz’s work, “These paintings stem from a dream in the middle of the night, lit by a full moon.”

The art looks at themes derived from history, nature, the subconscious and mythology – the human figures are quite often alone, displaying animal-like characteristics. This points to them being integrated into nature and that they are protected by nature. Their discomfort and pain express the artist’s own creative process.

Recently the artist has begun situating figures on meticulously woven, dream-like landscapes, integrated as her palette transitions from black to soft hues of brown. Her characters are mysterious and poetic at the same time, inviting the viewer to interrogate and express their inner worlds. Viewers remember what they have seen and on the other side, reality is not out of our minds; it chases us. By displaying our fears, dreams and anxieties, Gürbüz actually points to what exists through what is constructed. Perhaps this is why Gürbüz positions herself at the intersection of curiosity and magic.
To see the world within this other world, the viewer does not need glasses. Imagination is more than enough.

Gürbüz was born in Istanbul in 1960. After studying at Exeter College of Art Design between 1980 and 1982, she graduated from Marmara University Fine Arts Faculty in 1984. Her recent solo exhibitions include “Mind’s Eye” at Lawrie Shabibi Gallery in Dubai in 2011; “Shadows of Myself” through Rose Issa Projects at Leighton House Museum in London in 2011; “Archetypes” at Warehouse (Antrepo) No. 3 in Istanbul in 2010; “Sunny Shadows” at Gallery Apel in Istanbul in 2008 and Makii Masaru Fine Arts.